Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Is Our Campaign Right But Not Winnable? - 492/1446
Written by Lee on Friday, 15th September 2006

David Redgewell of Transport 2000 gave some sound advice in the link below.

We have followed this advice to the letter , and then some , yet we appear to have got nowhere (link below.)

In addition , David Redgewell , in his capacity as a member of the SERA National Executive , has been actively consulting with ministers & senior civil servants , as well as others , on the Melksham & other issues (links below.)

Could somebody please tell us what else could have been (or could still be) done to save the Melksham train service?

Re: Is Our Campaign Right But Not Winnable? - 492/1451
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 16th September 2006

[quote author=Lee link=topic=492.msg1446#msg1446 date=1158315522]
Could somebody please tell us what else could have been (or could still be) done to save the Melksham train service?

I'm going to describe this as "self analysis" since as I feel I've been very much on side in doing my bit to help put the case for the TransWilts service.

Re: Is Our Campaign Right But Not Winnable? - 492/1462
Written by Lee on Monday, 18th September 2006

Time for some "self - analysis" of my own.

I will admit to being pushy to the point of bordering on aggression at times. There are two reasons for this.

1) I cant help the way I am.

2) I have seen such an approach pay dividends in my part of the world.

[quote author=Lee link=topic=275.msg736#msg736 date=1151758732]Here is a link to the South Western Stakeholder Briefing (Specification Features.)

Quote from the above link :

"The Romsey-Totton service was introduced as part of a Rail Passenger Partnership funded scheme in 2003, and connected Chandlers Ford (between Romsey and Eastleigh) to the national passenger network. The consultation document proposed scaling the service back to operate as a shuttle between Romsey and Eastleigh. Further work has been undertaken since consultation, and concludes a service Romsey-Eastleigh-Southampton-Salisbury offers best value for money."

Here is a link to the South Western Stakeholder Briefing Annex A (Stakeholder consultation on South Western franchise replacement.)

Quote from the above link (Romsey-Southampton-Totton services.) :

"The principal concerns raised by respondents were as follows;

The majority of passengers using the service from Chandlers Ford travel to Southampton Central or Southampton Airport Parkway therefore an enforced interchange at Eastleigh will discourage passengers,

The proposal will lead to an increase in car journeys,

Continued growth at Southampton Airport will see the need for more rail journeys by both locally based employees of the airport and air passengers,

The proposal is in opposition to Government policy to reduce car travel and increase public transport use,

The service is popular, has seen consistent growth since introduction and will grow further as more development is planned in the Chandlers Ford area,

Concerns were expressed that the Romsey-Totton service is the only daytime service that calls at Swathling and St Denis[/quote]

Sounds familiar , doesnt it.

In the case of Chandlers Ford (which , like Melksham , was closed in the Beeching era , but re-opened later) campaigners managed to turn a proposed scaling back of services into an IMPROVED service , in much the same way as we are trying to (link below.)

How did they do it? They put together an excellent , well - presented case , and pushed it extremely hard at the highest political level that they could reach. They also had the full support of local authorities and elected representives. An impressive amount of public support was secured as well.

We ARE doing all the right things.

However , Hampshire campaigners are also aware that their success was based on a purely political decision. Network Rail studies have already concluded that there is no room on the network for a Romsey-Eastleigh-Southampton-Salisbury service. This means that they will have to fight this battle again , probably in December 2008.

By refusing to lay down and accept the scaling back of their service , Hampshire campaigners have laid down an early marker. They will not be seen as potential pushovers as a result.

Campaigners in our part of the world dont always win (link below.)

However , both they and Hampshire transport planners take many different factors into account and take a large number of relatively small bets regarding the future. Examples can be found in the links below.

Just one final point.

[quote author=Graham Ellis link=topic=497.msg1461#msg1461 date=1158590495]and I don't want to hang

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

This site is hosted by Well House Consultants Ltd. (
Contact Information

Further Information:
 Current Summary
 Daily update
 User forum
 Service now
 Service future
 Future Analysis
 Recent Statistics
 Recent letters
 Letter to DfT
 Save the train
 Support us
 Other Maps
 Station facilities
 Station approach
 Trains diverted
 About Melksham
 Site Map
 About this site