Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
"Local trains hit by underfunding" - This Is Wiltshire (15/03/2010) - 8097/13116
Written by Lee on Monday, 15th March 2010

From This Is Wiltshire:

[quote="This Is Wiltshire"]Local trains hit by underfunding

A rail watchdog has condemned the lack of investment by the Department of Transport in Swindon and the south west trains.

TravelWatch SouthWest, a public transport passenger pressure group, claims the DfT has failed to provide an adequate number of carriages to meet growing demand in Swindon and neighbouring towns and cities.

The organisation made the claims a day after the Government announced it was investing billions of pounds in electrification and in the building of a new high-speed line linking London with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

The organisation believes the plans fail to adequately deal with ongoing issues in the M4 corridor

Re: "Local trains hit by underfunding" - This Is Wiltshire (15/03/2010) - 8097/13117
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 15th March 2010

Putting the 30 billion pounds into context ... what could be done in the South West with just one Billion?

Reopen to Portishead [40 million]
Provide a 30 minute service to Portishead for 30 years [19 million]

Provide an hourly TransWilts service for 30 years [19 million]

Reopen to Tavistock [20 million]
Provide an hourly Tavistock to Plymouth service [19 million]

Reopen Stations at Batheaston (Bath Parkway), Corsham, Wootton Bassett and Wantage Road [22 million]
Provide an hourly Bristol to Didcot service [19 million]

Extend Portsmouth - Cardiff trains to 5 carriages [18 million]

Oh goodness - I'm only up to a fifth of the billion that I suggested we look at - which is just one thirtieth of the Adonis scheme.  I've included the cost of new vehicles for the services, I've gone with the most expensive (pessimistic) estimates for Portishead, I'm assuming significant subsidy based on the government's low growth figures as used in the recent RUS.  I know that some costings have a 66% pessimism factor in them to allow for historic overruns ... basically I am trying to pump up the price to use even a fraction of that money.

So ... reopen to Radstock, and via Okehampton to Plymouth.  Double the length of Cross Country trains.  Extra capacity at Westbury, Chippenham, .... yes, many of the GWRUS schemes; we can learn the bet ones from there.

I'm going to speculate that the High Speed may not happen - I'm going to speculate that it may be electioneering.  If spending promises like this get Labour back into power ("buying votes in their heartland") the scheme is sufficiently far into the future for it to be changed;  if the Conservatives get in and scrap it, then that will give  the now-opposition Labour a club to hit the new government with. So suggesting what could be done with a tiny fraction of the money is a bit theoretical.

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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