Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
FGW Says The Choice Is More Melksham Services Or Less Crowded Bristol Services - 6005/10373
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 26th February 2008

Wiltshire Times article link.

[quote="FGW"]"It is a difficult balancing act between on the one hand obtaining and paying for additional resources, and on the other deciding how best those resources should be used.

"Should an extra carriage if it becomes available be used to provide more services for Melksham, or to ease crowding on peak time services in and out of Bristol?

"We have already devoted a lot of time to looking at options for Melksham and will continue to do so. We have certainly not reached a conclusion that other priorities are more important."[/quote]

Re: FGW Says The Choice Is More Melksham Services Or Less Crowded Bristol Servic - 6005/10377
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 26th February 2008

The groups campaigning for an improved service from West Wiltshire to Swindon, which would include a decent service for Melksham, very much appreciate all the work the First Great Western are putting in to help achieve this.

There is regular overcrowding in many places, including from Trowbridge to Bath on which  most regular rush hour travellers have been turned away from overfull trains. Some of that overcrowding is caused by travellers from Frome, Warminster, Westbury and Trowbridge to Swindon who (at present) have to change in Bath.  A direct morning train from the West Wiltshire towns of Warminster, Westbury, Trowbridge and Melksham arriving into Swindon at about a quarter to 9, and a return service leaving Swindon shortly before 6 p.m. would reduce the numbers of people turned away from the West Wilts to Bristol services AND would improve travel to / from Swindon.  We should remember that some 120,000 journeys a year were made on the line from West Wilsthire to Swindon prior to the service cuts made by First in December 2006 - but the current service which First admit is "hardly an attractive proposition" is used (my estimate) for less that 10,000 journeys a year. That gives you some measure of the overcrowding that would be pulled off surrounding train services, and roads such as the A350, by a more appropriate service.

In rail company terms, the stock allocation for a carriage to run on the line is relatively minor.  According to published industry figures, First Great Western run 776 carriages and we're talking about ONE.  So First's comment that they have other priorities too is appreciated.

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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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