Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Discussion with the Department for Transport - 7207/11853
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 24th April 2008

From: Judith Shepherd
RNN Ministerial Liaison Team
Room 5/29
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street

24th April 2008

Dear Mr Glover,

Thank you for your e-mail of 2 April to the Minister for rail and to Peter West, Franchise Manager for First Great Western, seeking improvements to train services in North Wiltshire on the route via Melksham.  I have been asked to reply. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) specifies a Service Level Commitment (

Re: Discussion with the Department for Transport - 7207/11857
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 24th April 2008

A further reaction to the same letter - again reproduced with permission

Sigh - another identikit response that ignored my actual question to them regarding a Trans-Wilts connection between Salisbury to
Chippenham via Melksham...

Forwarded for your interest!


Re: Discussion with the Department for Transport - 7207/11893
Written by Nick on Friday, 25th April 2008

So what is their real   reason for being so uncoperative?

Re: Discussion with the Department for Transport - 7207/11918
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 26th April 2008

[quote author=Nick link=topic=7207.msg11893#msg11893 date=1209145103]
So what is their real   reason for being so uncoperative?

Someone could write a thesis on why a "case" such as ours, which appears to be a blindingly obvious no-brainer to those of us close to the coal face - appears to get responses which you describe as unco-operative. Elements that may go to make up the real reason you seek include

* Factors we may not be aware of that influence decisions and vested interests
* Differing points of view that mean that a blindingly obvious case to us is obvious in the opposite direction to others
* No-one has the "case" assigned to them - decision made years ago, and now it's a damage limitation excercise
* Perceived loss of face if a previous decision is changed within the time it was supposed to last for
* Risk for any employees of the organisations involved if they step away from the "party line"

Can I stress that this is a non-specific answer - quite intentionally - and it looks at the general case that anyone campaigning will come across.  These are factors we should all be aware of and work with, and I think it might be counterproductive (antagonistic) to discuss them in detail on open forum.  But they do help us learn which doors are likely to be bolted closed against the return of an appropriate TransWilts service, and which are more likely to be openable, even if we need to apply a lot of oil to the hinges.

Re: Discussion with the Department for Transport - 7207/11946
Written by WyvusArconius on Saturday, 26th April 2008

Someone is.. Lol sort of. My thesis is based on the campaign, in the wider context of rural rail issues. It also focuses on why there is a campaign for an improved service.
I realise I advertised I was doing this some time ago, but long term illness has slowed me considerably.


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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