|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Brussels Warns On Railways' State Aid - 7391/12066
Written by Lee on Thursday, 1st May 2008
The European Commission has told governments to end "hidden" state aid to railway companies by the end of next year or face a crackdown (link below.)
The Commission wants to boost competition at a time when several rail companies have been acquiring privately owned train operators. It had hoped the new entrants would provide competition for the state-owned operators that still dominate in every European country except the UK and Estonia.
Heiko Fischer, chief executive of VTG, Europe's largest rail wagon leasing company, said concern about such transactions might have motivated the move.
The rules aim to stamp out these distortions. While freight services have been liberalised, passenger services will not follow suit until 2010. Then the big operators should no longer be able to use high freight charges to subsidise passenger fares. Freight operations would be eligible for aid only if they were set up as separate legal entities.
States had spent
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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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