Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Talk by Bob Breakwell at Rail Future Conference, in Ely - 4629/8450
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 4th November 2007

Bob worked for BR from 1963, WAGN, was responsible for electifying to King's Lynn, Stanstead, etc. Now semi-retired, he's a nonexec director of First Capital Connect and First Great Western, working 1 or 2 days a week.

General industry comments

"""The government is subsidising the rail industry by 3 billion per annum; looking back 10 years and exprapolation without the three following items, it would actually be in surplus - a new payer - by now.  However:

a) West Coast Main line / biggest error with government now 9 billion worse off
b) Railtrack. "Seemed to think they had a vacuum hose into the treasury"
c) Channel Tunnel Rail Link. 5 billion and loss leader / lower Channel Tunnel passenger traffic than expected, and the line doesn't do much for Rochester / Chatham / Gillingham anyway.

"Polititians see us a spendthifts and it's remarkable that they're prepared to put another 15 billion in via HLOS which offers 1300 carriages, Thameslink improvements, and major freight enhancement."""

Anglia Specific Improvements

"""Felixstowe - Peterborough - Nuneaton freight
Thameslink - close Moorgate, improve Farringdon, reposition terminal platforms at Blackfriars.
12 car trains, Cambridge to Kings Cross. A year or two before stock can be allocated to the satifaction of the DfT although FCC could source it.
Stanstead also to 12 car, and 4 platforms.
2009 Clacton resignalling.
Stratford Capacity Improvemnets ("platform 10a to full lenght"?) said to be a lot of work due to need to rebuild road bridge

"As we're in East Anglia I was not asked to go further in my talk".

Bob sees ORR, Treasury, DfT, Network Rail and the TOCs all working together to meet the various objectives and get a positive outcome.  He noted inthe last few days that Network Rail have been holding back and asking for money, but assured us that's just a part of the process.

Under HLOS - route plans by Q2/2008 and announcements Q4."""

Note - he DID make some FGW specific comments:


link to index of articles

Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

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