Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
DfT South Central Franchise Info - 7583/12283
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 13th May 2008

The Department for Transport is to invite expressions of interest in the South Central passenger rail franchise (link below.)

The process will commence on 22nd May 2008 with the new franchise scheduled to start in September 2009.

A separate consultation process on the specification for the new service will also commence shortly, providing stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the Department's proposals for the franchise.

The term of the franchise will be five years and ten months (expiring in July 2015), with the final year dependent on achieving acceptable performance levels. The franchise will include an ability to extend by up to two years from July 2015 at the Department's discretion. The new South Central Franchise will be formed from the existing Southern franchise together with the existing Gatwick Express franchise which is expected to be incorporated within the Southern franchise in June 2008, and the Tonbridge - Redhill element of the current Southeastern service that will be operated by Southern from December 2008.

Re: DfT South Central Franchise Info - 7583/12416
Written by Lee on Thursday, 22nd May 2008

The consultation document and others can be found in the links below.

Re: DfT South Central Franchise Info - 7583/12553
Written by Lee on Saturday, 14th June 2008

DfT responses to questions received from parties interested in seeking accreditation to receive an Invitation to Tender for the South Central Franchise (link below.)

Re: DfT South Central Franchise Info - 7583/12734
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 20th August 2008

The Department for Transport has announced the list of shortlisted bidders for the new South Central franchise (links below.)

They are :

NedRailways South Central Limited (NedRailways Limited)
NXSC Trains Limited (National Express Group plc)
Southern Railway Limited (Govia Limited)
Southern Trains Limited (Stagecoach Group plc)

Re: DfT South Central Franchise Info - 7583/12747
Written by Lee on Friday, 22nd August 2008

Fears over cuts to train services between Kent and Surrey have led a council to oppose the franchise (link below.)

Tonbridge council said it had "deep concerns" about cuts to services and had written to the Department for Transport opposing the plans.

The council said proposed changes would mean no direct trains from Tonbridge to Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, no direct off-peak trains from Tonbridge to London Bridge, and fewer off-peak trains between Tonbridge and Redhill.

Councillor Matthew Balfour said the Tonbridge to Redhill line was "an essential connection" and the council had made a "forceful and well-argued case" against the plans.

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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