|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Comparing FGW to FCC - 4630/8452
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 4th November 2007
A tale of three train companies.
Tickets that say "only valid in your reserved" are great until you get to the station and see the sign that says "no reserved seats on this train".
The 17:55 from Chippenham to Paddington was shown as being 5 minutes late when we arrived on the platform, but this slipped and we left about 10 late in the end. Friday evening isn't the busiest of times on the "125", but I was struck that there were just the three of us - Lisa, myself and one other chap - in the whole coach, a much lower loading level that I have seen even recently on the TransWilts.
Our conductor was cheerful over the intercom, assuring us after Swindon that we would make up time and be in Paddington on schedule, but further delays outside Reading and on the approach to Airport Junction held us back, and we were 17 minutes late into Paddington.
An hour to transfer to King's Cross had become 40 minutes, and "minor delays" on the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines meant that it was touch and go as to whether or not we would catch the Ely train - but with the help of a District line train and a sardine can onwards from Edgware Road, we made the conection with enough time to grab a sandwitch before we boarded the King's Lynn service.
First Capital Connect - left on time. Uneventful journey. and into Ely within a minute or two of schedule. Busy, brightly lit station, clean train, healthy number of passengers. Modern electric unit. Is this really the same company and world as the one who we were on from Chippenham?
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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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