|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Brief statement of case ... - 4864/8881
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 2nd December 2007
Text used yesterday for "Santa Trip" attendees ...
We arrive in Swindon just before 10 a.m. giving you time in the town for shopping and a long lunch. Please arrive back at the station soon after 3 p.m.; the train leaves at 15:19 for Chippenham and Swindon, and Santa will be visiting all the children booked with our party on the train before we reach Melksham about half an hour later.
If you have been on the Santa trip in previous years, you'll have noticed that our timing is different this year and we're not able to offer you the choice of a long or short time in Swindon. This is because the First group (in association with the Depratment for Transport and the local transport authority - Wiltshire County Council) have WITHDRAWN more than half of the trains on the line, leaving trains from Melksham at just 07:17 and 19:50 on weekdays , and 09:22 and 19:50 on Saturdays, returning from Swindon at 06:18 and 18:42 (Monday to Friday) and 15:19 and 20:52 (Saturday). This is in spite of a rapidly growing usage in previous years, and huge growth in Melksham and other towns along the route. The new times are inappropriate for almost everyone (except the train company [First Great Western], for whom they are operationally convenient) and as a result most of the patronage has been lost, with passengers without cars having little option but to us a bus which with changes takes three times as long, or give up their journey. It's madness, and the major players now admit they have gone one step too far in these cuts.
The changes do not just effect the Melksham to Swindon journey which only accounts for a small proportion of the tickets sold for the line; it also effects many other journeys such as Chippenham to Salisbury and Trowbridge to Swindon. Those are the four largest towns in Wiltshire; Melksham is fifth.
A campaign is underway to get the service restored to an appropriate level, and we now have at least a reasonable chance of having it succeed.
Have a great day today and many thanks for joining us!
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
Letter to DfT
Save the train
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