Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
SELRAP - Skipton East Lancashire Railway Partnership - 4635/8457
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 5th November 2007

Notes from Railfuture conference, 3.11.2007, Ely

SELRAP - Campainging for a re-instatement of the Colne to Skipton line to give a long distance transpennine link.  Good talk - good project / out of my own area so I can't give full sensible review.  But some interesting facts highlighted.

Each of us pays/looses 330 pounds per annum because of road delays - everything from our own time to higher prices because delivery lorries can't visit as many places and buses can't make as many runs per day. Also 150 pounds per annum to the National Heath service so that they can treat road accident casualties.

Train journeys per annum. 800 million in 1970, 735 million in 1994, estimated 1100 million in 2007, which is a higher figure than any year since 1959. And that's done on a network that's only got half the number of route miles of the 1959 network, with certain lines that were double in those days now being single. Car ownership rose from 10 million in 1970 to 30 million this year.

Both Colne and Skipton are already on the railway system - it's just that it's a very long journey indeed by rail to cover the 11 miles between them. We heard of a special train being chartered, and doing a through trip between them - "first time in nearly 40 years".  The lecturer told us they could have filled a 6 car train, but were only allowed 4 because of platform length restritions.  [[I consider ruefully FGW's refusal to even consider an extension of the 09:00 Westbury to Weymouth back to start its day from Melksham at 08:45 once this summer - "no staff, no trains, NO SPECIALS AT ALL"]]


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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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