Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Potential Service Issue Resolved With FGW - 8129/13173
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 28th April 2010

Currently on Saturdays, the 0705 Portsmouth-Cardiff service arrives in Westbury at 0858, thus providing a connection into the 0903 Westbury-Swindon service. However, from May 2010 the Portsmouth-Cardiff service will arrive in Westbury at 0900, which means that this will no longer be an official connection.

Passengers use this connection for a variety of journey purposes. Their numbers will include those travelling from Salisbury, Warminster and even as far afield as Portsmouth to our monthly Community Rail Partnership steering group meetings, which are held on a Saturday from 0930 at Well House Manor, Melksham.

Its not just passengers travelling to Melksham that will suffer. For example, with the current connection, passengers from stations such as Salisbury and Warminster travelling to Chippenham and Swindon can save 20-25 minutes on their overall journey time compared with changing at Bath.

The reason for the timing alteration is that as of May 2010, Network Rail have amended the Rules of the Plan (which govern the operation of the timetable), leading to effectively a 2 minute increase in running time between Warminster and Westbury to reflect the performance of the railway. Therefore the 0705 Portsmouth-Cardiff service will have a working time arrival at Westbury of 09.01 1/2 (public and working timetables differ.)

This means there would be only a 90 seconds real-time connection - made worse by the fact that the trains would be in platform 1 and platform 3 respectively at Westbury.

However, following discussions between us and First Great Western, they have agreed, from May 2010, to bid for the 0903 Westbury-Swindon service to depart at 0905, getting back into its current path by Thingley Jn. Subject to Network Rail validating the change, this will resolve the issue and restore the connection.

To me, this is a great example of how our CRP can work positively with the key players to resolve issues such as this. FGW didnt have to do that - but they did, and they deserve credit for that.

If you would like to join the growing group of TransWilts Community Rail Partnership volunteers, then please do register at - We'd be very happy to have you on board.

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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