Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Comparison - Pewsey and Melksham - 7999/12951
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 7th April 2009

It must have been some 30 years ago that I first used Pewsey Station - to get to the K & A Canal and walk the section from there to Bedwyn.  At the time, I was living in Kent ... and there was one train I could catch to get to Pewsey early in the morning, with the direction of my walk dictated by the need for flexibility on my return.

How things have changed - and changed for the better.  Pewsey now has trains every few hours, and they're busy, too ... at least at the times I use them.  I was over there on Saturday, and I was also impressed by the very smart buses that were around - it looked like a major operational hub, with shops and services to make the population proud, and things in a fine fettle.

Of course, I tend to compare with my home town of Melksham ... and it's very instructive to do so.  I expect Lee will know the answers to each of these:

Poplulation - Melksham v Pewsey
Trains calling daily - Melksham v Pewsey
Passengers per annum - Melksham v Pewsey
Number of MPs living in town - Melksham v Pewsey

Re: Comparison - Pewsey and Melksham - 7999/12952
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 8th April 2009

[quote author=Graham Ellis link=topic=7999.msg12951#msg12951 date=1239141809]Of course, I tend to compare with my home town of Melksham ... and it's very instructive to do so. I expect Lee will know the answers to each of these:[/quote]

Moi? I have no idea, not a clue. Only kidding

Re: Comparison - Pewsey and Melksham - 7999/12953
Written by WyvusArconius on Thursday, 9th April 2009

See... its amazing what happens when a train service is provided!  :P

If nearly 170,000 journeys a year can be conjured up from pewsey's 3000 and the local area... imagine what could be done with a 21000 population town! Madness!!

(We're all thinking it! :) )

Re: Comparison - Pewsey and Melksham - 7999/12954
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 10th April 2009

One of the measures of how well a station is serving its community can be found by dividing the number of journeys to / from the station by the local population.  For example ...

Trowbridge.  Population about 28,000, annual journeys about 560,000 - journeys per head about 20

A figure of 10 is regarded as being extremely poor, and a figure of 50 is pretty darned good.  Of course, figures can be subject to all sorts of anomolies and you're never comparing horses with horse - often it's apples and oranges and it could be chalk and cheese.  What Are some of these distortions?

* Annual jouney figures distorted by ticket buying patterns such as buying from a to e but only travelling from b to e
* Catchment areas where a station in a smaller community acts as railread for a larger area
* Tourist traffic which is not necessarily in proportion to population (Portmadoc)
* Towns which are self-sustaining so that people don't often travel out (Fort William)

Let me give you some more factors, and comment on distortions:

Pewsey - 56 (but it draws from a large area - so a "weighted performance" figure would be around 30 to 35)
Chippenham - 53 (same comment at Pewsey)
Warminster - 18
Westbury - 31 (a superb range of services)
Swindon - 19
Melksham - 1.9 (no, that decimal point is NOT an error - the figure is under 2)

Incredibly, the Melksham figure has been distorted upwards because of ticket sales "Melksham to Bristol" when in practise the puchasers used them for shorter but more expensive journeys such as Bradford-on-Avon to Bristol. Crazy, but it's allowed on most tickets (not Megatrain).  The true Melksham figure for last year, I estimate, is 15,000 journeys, and 21,000 population - a factor of 0.7

Re: Comparison - Pewsey and Melksham - 7999/12958
Written by Lee on Friday, 10th April 2009

So, by your reckoning Graham, Colne would have a journeys per head figure of 3

I read an interesting article earlier today (link below.)

I should start by saying that Colne is the second largest town and civil parish in the Borough of Pendle, and lies 6 miles north-east of Burnley and 25 miles east of Preston. It is also worth noting that the rail service from Colne and Burnley to Blackburn, Preston and Blackpool is hourly.

Here are some quotes from the above article:

[quote]The battle is on to get better train services through Burnley and Pendle.

Pendle councillor Sonia Robinson and Burnley Council leader Gordon Birtwistle met up at Burnley Central Station to reveal plans to seek better trains, improved timetables and cleaner and more welcoming stations.[/quote]

The battle is on to get better train services along the TransWilts corridor as well. 339 people have so far signed the TransWilts pledge in support of an increase from 2 poorly-timed round trips a day to 6 well-timed ones (link below.)

The battle for a useable TransWilts service is only the beginning. We also have a 5-year plan to get us to an hourly service, and a vastly improved Melksham station (link below.)

[quote]Coun. Robinson, who chairs the Pendle Local Strategic Partnership transport group, said: "We intend to promote the use of trains between Burnley and Colne and ensure it is a good service."[/quote]

We can only dream of an effective Local Strategic Partnership transport group in this part of the world. However, we do have plans to set up a TransWilts Community Rail Partnership to promote a decent service, once we get one.

[quote]She also wants to see an end to trains being unexpectedly terminated at Burnley, with no facilities to carry passengers to Brierfield, Nelson and Colne

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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