Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
All Wrong On The Railways - 943/2647
Written by Lee on Friday, 29th December 2006

Here is an interesting Oxford Mail letter (link below.)

Re: All Wrong On The Railways - 943/2667
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 31st December 2006

There's a lot of sense in what James says.  He talks of the patients running the asylum and, yes, it looks like that. But would it really be possible for the powers that be - the government and the DfT - to end up with a system that's so mad and anti-rail-traveller as the current one when they've got - I know - a lot of intelligent people working there.    Anyone have any sense of their long-term plan?

Re: All Wrong On The Railways - 943/2679
Written by Steve35 on Monday, 1st January 2007

[quote author=Graham Ellis link=topic=943.msg2667#msg2667 date=1167541256]
Anyone have any sense of their long-term plan?

To save money.

Quote from elsewhere:
"Simply look at the buses parked outside the stations as the 158s go to store at Eastleigh. I also refer you to Mr. Armitt's public statement made to the Guardian just before Christmas, made at the same time as we were being told to plan in buses on certain routes. This was also mentioned by the current DfT head of the Rail Department.
The bus replacement started last Thursday. The GW Franchise is seen as the testbed for all the others. It also suits the Governments aim in curbing the leasing companies if they can force their assets into periods of non-earning storage.
Some 60 lines across the UK were seen as prime candidates for trains being replaced by buses. These 60 routes include Exmouth-Barnstaple via Exeter, The Looe Branch, Gunnislake Branch, Newquay Branch and even the St. Ives Branch (This last one even in Winter is well loaded). It is simple economics according to the Whitehall crowd. Even with packed trains every day, buses and even taxis are cheaper in terms of pounds spent. No train leases to pay, no track to maintain (and repair after flooding), less staff to employ, less safety regulation to enforce, and no risk to Labour seats, as most of the areas affected have no Labour MPs.
Either someone else pays or it shuts.
It is then cheaper to subsidise buses for a year or two, until ridership on those becomes so low, that they too can be withdrawn on the grounds of no demand."

So there you have it. Of course it doesn't have to be like this. In British Rail days the annual rail subsidy was approximately

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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