|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
A Message To Fleur? - 4985/9064
Written by Lee on Friday, 14th December 2007
Bristol Evening Post Andrew Haines interview (link below.)
"He urged local authorities to work together to secure new engines and carriages from the Government's Department for Transport."
A message from FGW to Wiltshire and others?
Re: A Message To Fleur? - 4985/9065
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 14th December 2007
In an otherwise very depressing meeting at County Hall, Trowbridge, a couple of weeks back I was relieved to hear an acknowledgement from the country treasurer that it's a political decision as to where money should be spent on transport in the county. She was also talking about "investing to save".
Now all of this can work well for the good of the voters in Wiltshire and people who travel through the county.At the present time, Wiltshire has a "bus we buy, train we don't" policy. Effects and future ....
This is resulting in a service which is great for local journeys of a few miles, but is getting overcrowded over longer distances with people on free bus passes, making slower journeys. The district councils have to pick up the (unlimited) bill for these at present, but in the future that will pass to the Unitary authority of the county ... more expense
Also for the future, we're seeing bus routes being split at 30km boundaries due to new EU regulations; I note that the X4 and X5 have just gone and First were saying they would only operate from Bath to WESTBURY, but in fact their new 264/265 operate to WARMINSTER ... so I'm guessing that the County, who trumpet the new setup as a triumph, are pouring more money into subsidy here .... more expense
Also for the future, bus passes go nationwide so the County / Unitary council will be responsible for the bus fares of travellers from Chippenham to Salisbury who live in Liverpool, or Edinburgh or Chelmesford ... more expense
The tragedy is that these uncapped expenses are NOT buying efficient travel for people - they're buying a sevice which is great for 5 miles and takes a great deal too long for 20 miles!
The climate is now such that the county has an alternative under which they continue to support the local buses but integrate them / have them intercahnge at the stations. A limited extra expenditure on rail enhancements - the hire of a train, let us say - would give faster journey times using well integrated transport and would encourage those who can afford it to pay for the better service ...
It's a complex argument, but is does whow how things are changing and how Wiltshire Council really will be in a position where the integrated approach would be the most effective for them in the very near future.
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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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