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People Prefer Trains! - 6955/11565
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 15th April 2008
A comparison - a journey by public transport yesterday evening from Melksham to Chippenham
On the way up, I caught the 18:04 bus (Market Place timing) which left the stop nearest the railway station at 18:17 (estimate 10 minutes late) and cost 3.25. Although this bus is not shown as serving Chippenham railway station, I asked where the driver suggested I get off for the train and he told me that the bus carried on from the bus station to the train station; indeed it did and that was where I got off - at 18:38.
There were 3 other passengers on the bus when I got on in Melksham - one probably on a child fare and the other two adults. No Pensioner's passes. Noone else got on or off until Chippenham. The bus left Chippenham on its return journey to Melksham with just 3 passengers on board - one from the bus station who had bought a ticket to Trowbridge, and the other two from the railway station, their destination unknown.
The bus was a double decker, with seating for 72 and standing room for 9. There is no information point or other indication available of when the bus will (or will not) arrive at the bus stop where I joined the service. Had I been travelling on to Swindon, the 18:55 train would have got me there at 19:10.
On the way back, I caught the 19:01 train, which left at 19:23 (19:08 from Swindon, I understand). The delay was notified to us in good time (it showed as 19:16 - one minute after a 125! - for the longest of times) and was said to be due to a delay at Worcester. The train arrived in Melksham at 19:34.
13 passengers remained on the train at Chippenham where a further 6 joined, making a combined load of 19 to Melksham. 8 people got off at Melksham. The fare was 2.90. I counted about 4 cars at Melksham Station, and about the same number left the station area on foot.
Contrasts and similarities
bus v train
10 late v 22 late
21 minute journey v 11 minute journey
3 passengers v 19 passengers
no delay information v good delay information
3.25 v 2.90
72 seats v 75 seats
1 change, Melksham to Swindon v direct service, Swindon to Melksham
53 minutes Melksham to Swindon v 26 minutes Swindon to Melksham
no intermediate traffic v no intermediate traffic
operated by First v operated by First
friendly, helpful staff v friendly, helpful staff
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
Letter to DfT
Save the train
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