Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
An FGW West Fleet Area Rescue Plan - 5215/9361
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 9th January 2008

[quote author=devon_metro link=topic=1329.msg7348#msg7348 date=1199188697]
Why not try and help FGW or something[/quote]

Why not indeed? I have given it my best shot, but let's be clear on one thing :

FGW cant do it on their own. They will require help from the DfT, Network Rail and, quite possibly, local authorities as well.

What follows is a three-stage plan, inspired in large part by ideas from members of this and the First Great Western Coffee Shop forums. I have taken every factor that I know of into account, but there will undoubtably be things that I have missed. Therefore, I would appreciate it if you'd bear that in mind when reading it.

The plan is also dependent on FGW successfully resolving issues such as staffing and Swindon control.

STAGE ONE (December 2008-December 2010)

3 extra 2-coach Class 142 units (currently in storage) leased to bolster the capacity (and PR) gains made in Devon.

Key "Cross-Bristol" trains run using loco-hauled stock. This frees up units for use elsewhere, including a Class 153 unit for the extra Frome/TransWilts services contained in the link below. The loco-hauled services are gradually replaced by Class 150/1 units released by London Midland.

The proposed 40 minute frequency Severn Beach Line timetable is assumed to have been implemented in May 2008, as currently planned.

STAGE TWO (December 2010-Franchise End)

A radical overhaul of the franchise is implemented, as detailed in the link below.

STAGE THREE (Franchise End Or Life After FGW)

New rolling stock all round, with the "Cross-Bristol" specification based on the link below.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that all of the above could necessarily be implemented exactly as I have set it out, but I do think that something close to it could be acheivable.

Re: An FGW West Fleet Area Rescue Plan - 5215/9362
Written by WyvusArconius on Wednesday, 9th January 2008

Some excellent suggestions.. for my own entertainment i had been constructing a new timetable for the FGW network, and its re-assuring to see that we have some similar ideas...

However, FGW strike me as the kind of organisation that dont like being told what to do... even if they know they are wrong. i can see two main hurdles to this however... one of which is the current bain of improvements to the Transwilts....

1) Even though FGW now say that they see the case for improved transwilts services, i am of the impression that they are not yet enthused to take on what they see as a considerable risk... and certainly not at the expense of their established services...  The improvements that you, me and everyone else on this forum are pushing for cannot be achieved to without signifcant groundwork to ensure that people are aware of the service, and can be convinced to use it. This of course links into the wider problem of the perception of the rail network at large...  but we could on a local scale, with an effort from us and the council/s generate enough support not only bring pressure for change, but to show FGW that the risk is minimal.

2) My only other concern is with "new build trains".. FGW havent shown a huge amount of inclination to bring in new rolling stock.. though we all know they could do with it! And it would be a godsend on the PMH - CDF route...

I did read your disclaimer at the start... i hope i dont come across as too negative, and i am aware that a lot of this, and many other ideas discussed on here are based on best guess.

I am resolute in my belief that the FGW network needs improving. But to do it, i feel we need to bang our drums a bit louder.

Re: An FGW West Fleet Area Rescue Plan - 5215/9376
Written by Lee on Thursday, 10th January 2008

I dont think you come across as too negative, as I actually agree with a lot of what you say. Regarding "banging the drum" we have been very active behind the scenes, but public pressure certainly helps as well.

A note on "new build trains" :

The link below details where the DfT's promised 1,300 carriages (assuming they get built) are likely to be deployed.

Regarding the FGW area, the London-Reading corridor is battling it out with services in the Southeastern, Southern, South West Trains, Chiltern, London Midland, FCC, One and c2c areas for a share of around 900 extra coaches.

Bristol is battling it out with Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield for a share of around 50-80 carriages.

The plan asks for 36 new carriages, which seems fair for resolving an issue as urgent as Portsmouth-Cardiff.

Re: An FGW West Fleet Area Rescue Plan - 5215/9377
Written by WyvusArconius on Thursday, 10th January 2008

I must confess I had forgotten about the "extra rolling stock" announcement. Hopefully something will come of it, they are much needed as we all know.

With regards to "banging the drum, and I say this looking somewhat in Graham's direction for gudiance... is it worth trying to organise some kind of event in the next couple of months to renew awareness in the campaign? I have a few ideas - things like stands at local events, a well advertised public meeting or some such. I know a lot of the "key players" know we are still here, but if we can show that the public at large are still with us, the extra pressure/media coverage could be useful in shaping future timetables, and show that there is a strong and active demand for the service.


Re: An FGW West Fleet Area Rescue Plan - 5215/9989
Written by Industry Insider on Saturday, 9th February 2008

The weekly staff news-sheet/propaganda bulletin from Andrew Haines was interesting this week as it made mention of the fact he was frustrated by the lack of trains to cope with capacity in the Bristol area (specifically mentioning the Southampton-Bristol-Cardiff corridor).

It was interesting in so much as he stated he was willing to invest in extra capacity, though was having trouble finding suitable rolling stock, and intriquingly mentioned that the company might have to be 'innovative' to find a solution. I would think he would not use such language unless there was something in the pipeline - Class 67 hauling converted Mk3 HST carriages perhaps? Or maybe they're gonna dust off some steam trains residing in Didcot GWR centre...?  :o

Re: An FGW West Fleet Area Rescue Plan - 5215/10006
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 10th February 2008

I was struck by an awful lot of Mk 3 coaches at Crewe as I came through today, but I also recall someone saying that you could buy a new care outright for the cost of working a loco and coaches set for one day!  Over the past fortnihght, I've travelled around a bit outside the FGW area by train and the only journey where there was major standing (uncomfortable so) was from Parkway on Friday evening.  So it would seem logical that if stock became available anywhere it should be deployed here abouts.

Very interesting comment from a Liverpool to Macclesfield Commuter I spend yesterday with - complimenting First on their new TransPennine trains, but really VERY unhappy about an uncoming dramatic reduction in fast trains calling at Macclesfield. 

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