|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
How to treat your customers - National Express to Melksham - 8031/13012
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 11th July 2009
I am posting the following here as a contrast - as a reminder as to how good and helpful the FGW operation staff on the TransWilts line are (and a big THANK YOU to them).
[quote]I was meeting an arriving delegate last night off the 21:05 National Express coach from London ... I duly went to the stop in the Market Square at about 10 to nine as the coach often arrives early, and indeed it pulled in a couple of minutes later, except it stopped on the roundabout about 50 yards away and disgorged it's Melksham Passengers there; I dashed over to greet my guest, and asked the driver whether that was the normal stop. "I've been driving on this route for seven years and I always stop here. It's too tight around the Market Sqaure to go to the official stop". And with a puff of cigarette smoke into my face, he was back on board and off. Leaving me with questions ...
a) If there's a problem with the location of the current stop, why hasn't it been moved; it's confusing at present. Don't tell me there hasn't been time - they have had seven YEARS.
b) Is it regarded as safe and official to stop on the roundabout?
c) Is it common and accepted practise for coach drivers to smoke in close proximity to their customers, all be it legally / outside the coach?
d) The coach left to continue its journey some 8 minutes before schedule. Are drivers aware when they do / don't have passengers to pick up, making early running a reasonable practise? Had I turned up 'on spec' to catch this coach to Frome at 9 p.m., I would have had a major problem!
As a general comment, the driver came across as rude / less than caring. I felt it could have been just me being sensitive until my visitor told me that he had arrived at the coach in the last couple of minutes before it left Victoria, having queued for a ticket for 20 minutes, and the driver had complained that he had to reopen the luggage doors and shouldn't have let him on.[/quote]
Thsi could be just one driver's attitude - but it will certainly make me think twice before I suggest that our clients entrust themselves to this coach service.
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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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