Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
How is Wiltshire Council measuring up against its rail objectives in LTP2? - 8018/12993
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 30th April 2009

I was browsing through the Wilsthire Council Website ... with the Local Transport Plan 3 consultation underway at present, with the new Unitary authority having just taken over, and being about halfway the current 5 year (LTP2) period, I felt it was a good time to have a look and see how they were getting on against their aspirations. There's a lot about bus, and only very little about rail, in the public transport section, but here goes.

From Appendix 4 (Public Transport) of Local Transport Plan 2

2.1 To ensure the right conditions prevail to raise productivity through  innovation and sustainable development enabling increased investment  in jobs and services to improve quality of life. Specific geographic  priorities; Swindon and the city of Salisbury; priority market towns;  deprived wards; communities heavily influenced by the MoD; Salisbury  Research Triangle; A36, A303 and A350; strategic rail routes and station  provision, as well as rail routes to Swindon 

Rail Routes to Swindon have got markedly worse ... procuctivity decreased with people who previously used the railway being forced onto the road, or to dogleg via Bath, due to the December 2006 changes.

2.2 Maximising the use of existing transport infrastructure ...

The railway infrastructure is used less rather than more in my town

4.12 The Swindon - West Wiltshire - Southampton service should be developed  as it has considerable potential to help relieve local traffic and environmental  problems and to contribute to the Council's Western Wiltshire Transport Plan.

Far from being developed, the service has been REMOVED

4.13  New stations at Corsham, Wilton, Porton and Wootton Bassett remain part of the  long term strategy, although it is recognised that pursuing these is unlikely to be  productive until there are changes in the national rail funding situation. On the  other hand, improvements to existing stations (particularly to facilitate interchange  between rail and road transport) will be considered for inclusion in the 5-year  programme. 

There have been some improvements.  But that's patchy - at Melksham, a town crying out for improved facilities, the only improvements have been the replacement of a few signs.

6.1 Improving access to stations;  promotion, including employer travel  plans; continuing development of  town centres to provide residential  and employment use and enhance  attractiveness of towns; engagement  with DfT and rail industry to ensure  service continuity and incremental  capacity improvements.

Capacity has not been improved - it has ben reduced

6.15 More frequent services between Swindon, Melksham, Trowbridge and  Southampton. 

Far from increasing the service, it has been withdrawn

A The Council will use the following guidelines to ensure value for money: The Council will critically review the justification for services where the subsidy  per passenger trip exceeds the following: 

Re: How is Wiltshire Council measuring up against its rail objectives in LTP2? - 8018/12994
Written by WyvusArconius on Thursday, 30th April 2009

If this was a half term school report, it wouldn't just say "could do better". It would say "this pupil has shown a complete disregard for the objectives that were set him at the start of the course ..."

Too right!
I have flicked through the LTP2 at some point in the past, but I didn't spot how specifc some of their objectives were with regards to the Transwilts... *Shakes head*... lets hope we can get some sense from them after 4th June...

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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