Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Trowbridge - Swindon - a very long day's commute indeed - 8006/12968
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 15th April 2009

I finished work at 5 p.m. yesterday.

I loaded a local delivery I had to make to an address in the centre of Trowbridge into the car, and drove there and made my delivery. I then walked across the town - 10 minutes - for anothe meeting.

That meeting lasted 90 minutes.

I then walked - a further 10 minutes to the station, my evening deliveries and meeting over some two hours after finishing my regular working day.

And i then had a further 10 minutes to wait at the station for the only evening train from Swindon and Chippenham, Southbound on the TransWilts, to come through.

This train - at Trowbridge at twenty past seven - has been described to me as a train that's intended for commuters from Swindon and Chippenham to reach West Wiltshire.  Last night was a graphic illustration to me of how it sompletely fails to meet that intent. Look at all those extra things I did after work - a full two hour's worth - before the train even turned up (and no, it was not behind schedule).  The guy who got off dashed out of the station - walking (or rather running) home to make the most of a short night.  If he's a regular round trip commuter, he'll have to be back at the station at 07:05 this morning to start the process again.

What's needed is additional trains at strategic times to provide a service to fit the traffic flows and not a service to meet the timetable specification provided by the government. An extra train in the morning an hour after the 07:05, and an extra evening service that arrives back about an hour before the 19:20 would provide in themselves a sensible commute option and would give users of this route (remember that it's been identified as one of the top 50 commute corridors!) the soft of options that the flow needs.

See which provides a draft improved timetable (more than a draft - the folks involved have worked out that it's valid and can be done) which fills the gap above - and lots of other gaps such as:
* Students to and from Chippenham
* Visitors to Wiltshire Heritage Centre from and to the rest of Wiltshire catered for
* Inbound business visitors to Melksham provided with well timed services (40% of our customers used to arrive and leave by train when there was something similar to the 09:28 arrival and 17:08 departures that are proposed)

That's about four flows out of a dozen we have identifies all very cleverly served by a single train, at a sensible cost that would shrink as the service usage grew.

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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