Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/11424
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 9th April 2008

DfT information and guidance about the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project (link below.)

This will lengthen Thameslink trains from 8 to 12 carriages by spring 2012. Current rolling stock will be released to other parts of the network to provide extra capacity.

The new fleet incorporates additional capacity as provided by the Rolling Stock Plan announced this January. Train manufacturers now have the opportunity to express their interest in winning the contract. This will be followed by a shortlist process with the final contract expected to be awarded in summer 2009.

The schedule aims to have the first train available for testing in autumn 2011, with the first train in passenger service by spring 2012.

DfT Press Release link.

Re: Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/11428
Written by Industry Insider on Wednesday, 9th April 2008

Another very demanding set of performance parameters for any bidders to get their heads round. The requirements for the IEP (InterCityExpress) project have already led to one of the bidders pulling out due to them considering them unrealistic. There is, after all, only so much you can do with a trains specification at a reasonable cost.

The number of times the Thameslink document mentions the phrase 'best in class' - meaning it'll have to be better than anything else currently in operation - means if delivered to the spec we're going to look forward to quite a train! Either that, or the winning bidders train will be so complex that it fails to work properly, like so many of the recent high-spec trains (Adelante, anyone...?)

Operating such a service requires performance capabilities (acceleration and
braking rates) and station dwell time characteristics (the time from wheel stop to
wheel start) which are more demanding than those currently offered by any
existing design of stock currently operating on the network.

The quote above puzzled me. Station dwell times are affected more by passengers boarding/alighting than anything else. Despite the added capacity of 12-car formations over 8-car ones, it'll be the marshalling of the platforms by staff to ensure that passengers are spread evenly (and not all trying to cram on the carriage that is nearest the footbridge at their destination station) that will affect dwell times the most. Given the increase in passenger numbers, and human nature, I really can't see station dwell times doing anything other than increase.

Re: Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/12164
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 6th May 2008

The DfT have published an FAQ (link below.)

Re: Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/12296
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 14th May 2008

DfT Thameslink Rolling Stock Project clarification question bulletin (link below.)

Re: Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/12313
Written by Industry Insider on Thursday, 15th May 2008

A couple of points from Lee's link to the clarification bulletin link...

1) If you read the first two answers, the DfT is asking for a design of train capable of allowing 999 people to board it and 1 to get of in a maximum of 45 seconds (including opening and closure of doors). Now if you assume a maximum of two doors per vehicle, and a full length train of 12 carriages, that still equates to an average of more than one person boarding every second. That's gonna be tough to achieve given the randomness of some of the passengers carried!

2) In the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project Accreditation Process Document, Paragraph 4.1 General at the bottom (page 8 of 16) it states:

"Please print on A4 paper, double sided, using minimum Arial 11 point and line spacing of 14 point minimum".

Fair enough to seek clarification - after all it would be a shame if your companies train specification was easily the best but was turned away because you described it in Arial 10 point!

Re: Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/12663
Written by Lee on Thursday, 10th July 2008

The bidders have been announced (links below) :

They are :

ALSTOM Transport
Bombardier Transportation UK Limited
Hitachi Europe Limited
Siemens Transportation Systems

Re: Thameslink Rolling Stock Project - 6842/12736
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 20th August 2008

Changes to franchise agreements agreed between the Department for Transport and the train operating companies Southeastern, First Capital Connect and Southern Railways. (links below.)

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

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