Save the Melksham Train
Meeting, 21st - notes

Friday 21st April, Trowbridge.

I arrived on the 18:09 from Melksham, walked in after Dr Andrew Murrison (MP for Westbury) had started talking; he was emphasising the through Bristol to Waterloo trains as that, he told us, what the big railway subject in his postbag. He did confirm that he'll be attending the debate on the Greater Western Franchise in parliament on Tuesday, and urged us to let him (if his constituents) know of our concerns by then. I've written to my own MP, Michael Ancram, to encourage him to attend too.

Main Meeting

South West Public Transport Users' Forum , Chris Irwin in the chair.

Chris introduced Andrew Griffiths, new General Manager for Bristol and Somerset for First, who was seated beside him on the platform. Andrew was formerly with Wessex Trains, looking after the Cornish Branch lines, and did a sterling job in growing use and traffic there. We welcome him to this part of the network.

In his introduction, Chris told us that any improvements would likely have to
be based on availability of stock, and that in the current climate it would be unlikely for the government to sanction any extra capital expenditure such as restoring track to the third platform at Chippenham or the fourth at Westbury. And he said that any changes would need to be based on strong evidence.

GORDON EDWARDS has analysed in some detail the draft timetables and replied to the 8th March consultation for SWPTUF. His reply stated that the draft timetable had so many holes in it, with two trains in opposite directions on the same single line at the same time, many missed connections and so little regard to current customer flows that it really wasn't fit for purpose.

He highlighted Keynsham, where the 4 three-coach trains that run from Bristol in the evening peak are reduced to 2 two-coach trains. He highlighted Frome, with an 07:04 departure to Bristol followed by a 2 hour gap ...

Gordon was unable to comment on First's planned changes of 3rd April as they're only proposals to be put to the DfT yet and so they're even more wooly in their definition than the draft timetables.

KATE HOARE. Head of Strategic Development. Planning Transport and. Sustainable Development. Kate highlighted how the new timetables abandoned the needs of the poorer sector of society; there's a much higher proportion of schools traffic and relatively local travel to work, hospital type traffic - as well as leisure and tourism - on the Portsmouth and Southampton to Bristol and Swindon lines, and their needs seem to have come below other user's aspirations.

ANDREW GRIFFITHS. General Manager for the Area, First. Andrew told us that the 9000 or so responses to the consultation basically filtered down to around 40 areas of concern. He believes that the 3rd April proposals solve around a half of these, and address to some degree a lot (but not all) of the other issues.

[[Speaking with Andrew personally, it seems that the Swindon to Southamton service and trains to Melksham is one of the issues that has not been dealt with. He offered a sympathetic ear, and a willingness to provide much more information to me which I have followed up already by email. He also took away a copy of our various reports which I think were new to him (could be wrong on that) and will read them through. Most notably, the report that Julian Crow said there was "nothing wrong" with that advocated a two-hourly service]]

The timetable from December will be available, subject to Network Rail and ministerial signoff, on the web from June. At that point it is said that major changes would not be possible.

First will consult again on services from December 2007, starting in January 2007.

The FLOOR WAS THROWN OPEN to questions (Chris Irwin is excellent at giving everyone a fair word at these events!) and many points were raised and discussed. One of these was the Swindon to Westbury Service, and it was notable that there was considerable support there for the line - I would say a sizable minority of the audience. There were some gasps of surprise when the new service was described from delegates from other parts. Several speakers spoke (including a professional Transport planner) spoke of moving to Melksham because of the current service, and having now to reconsider.

Andrew offered no hope / suggestions other than to keep writing and for the local authorities to work together on this one, which doesn't happen enough in this part of the country and is one of the reasons we're coming poorly out of this current series of reviews.
Officers from Wiltshire suggested that they co-operate across borders, citing the case of the Community rail line from Bristol to Weymouth even though they decided not to join the Severnside Transport Group; they didn't mention any co-operation with Swindon or Hampshire as regards the Swindon to Southampton line.

Written 2006-04-23 20:18:19

Available entries ...

Spring 2009 Campaign update
Preserved Railways - a look forward
Campaign update - news for December 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 ...
One long journey ends and another begins
Road - busy ... railway - no trains, so no users
Population growth, but congested roads
Loss of train - loss of job
Terminal 5 - a portent for the Olympics?
Senseless service - could become sensible
Not a Swiss clock railway this morning
The heart says "public transport", the head forces car
Meeting Season
Milk producers
An unusual journey for me - some observations
Want to comment? You're welcome on the forum
Where has our train gone?
Comparing a different part of the country
Fare Strike Day
On truthfully advertising the case
Another slap in the face from First Great Western
Asda - an opportunity that can be used or squandered
How have trains being doing in the last 48 hours?
Happy Christmas everyone!
Trains to and from Melksham - Timetable from Dec07 to May08
TransWilts trains ceased a year ago. Lets look forward
Santa Claus spotted at Swindon Station
A pile of 160 train tickets for tomorrow
First Great Western's Melksham service branded "a disgrace"
Cancellations, Changes and Crass Christmas
Rail user groups do NOT represent rail users?
Staffing-go-round - but the campaigners carry on
30 late, and a bus not a train ....
Campaigning Mantra - Philosophy behind the case
Commutes are longer, and in the west we may know why
Comparing a Wiltshire town with a Norfolk one
And the week ends with two more cancellations!
Does the new man want to play hard?
A First to Stagecoach comparison
Comment on December timetables
Front page update
Frustrated but not depairing
FSB - North and West Wilts Commitee - Federation of Small Businesses
How to fill platforms, and railway company coffers too!
The Ghost Train, Purton
A Comparison - travel in the USA by train
Weymouth, Poor Provisional, and Sunday
Radio - tomorrow morning?
We have another hill to climb
New faces - mayors and chairs.
Diary notes
News Roundup - a LOT is happening
Update being updated!
A roundup from a MELKSHAM perspective
The way forward - improved service and improved station
An update
Gordon Dodge, Rest in Peace
Helsinki and Heathrow to Melksham - Saturday
Asking for the political and part views
Government pressure to shut up. But let us look forward.
Petition Response - detail, opinion, context
Reply to Petition
What is happening?
Report - Monday night's meeting - press brief
The traveller, not the train!
A fast-moving story?
Passengers or Customers?
IMPROVED PUBLIC TRANSPORT LINKS ACROSS WILTSHIRE?
Invite letter - 5th March 2007 meeting
Save the Train v More Train, Less Strain
End game?
Keeping the diary rolling
Key players
PLEASE LOBBY - First, Dft, County Council, your MP
Welcome to 2007
Christmas, 2006
"Told you so"
New service - first impressions
They're gone ... but ...
Fizzle
Last Week - Press Release
Coming to a course in Melksham
Fading away?
2 weeks to go
Current and future summary
End of term - don't care
Returning from their UK course
Is this fare?
Behind the new timetable
Passenger or lemmings
More cancellations
Taunton meeting
From Ystrad Mynach
Consultant's reports recommended a modest INCREASE
A difficult choice for voters
20% service cut = 40% traffic cut?
If its working well, change it so it doesnt.
Is this train used?
Bus connections to Melksham from Chippenham
A year on - an empty bank holiday
One year on
Has our publicity reached the right people?
Flowers for Melksham. Flowers at Melksham.
A desire for honesty
Open Access case strengthened
Press Release - Open Access operator negotiations
In praise of estate agents
Bad news coming?
Pivotal decison - to grow or to strangle?
Rail future - the First Alternative
Friday, 7th July - Melksham
Visit by Chris Grayling and Michael Ancram
Welcome for Michael Ancram and Chris Grayling
Important but not refreshing meeting
Letter from Derek Twigg
Selling off any possibility of improvement
Internet connection issues
How to catch the 18:48 from Chippenham - the DfT suggests
Political pressure - press release
... is part of a planned war
Our battle ....
Lies, damned lies and statistics
Put yourself in their shoes
Home soon.
Carrying fresh air around?
Bus service costs 25 pounds per passenger to run?
Every so often, stop and look
It gets worse
Friday meeting - invite and details
First way to get rid of customers?
RailFuture meeting - some gems
RailFuture meeting today
Waverley
Diary Date - 12th May
First back down or buses too.
Parliamentary Debate, 25th April
What SWPTUF says
Friday's meeting
Meeting, tonight
Celebrating a closure
Meeting, Friday 21st
Friday, 21st, Trowbridge
Southampton to Westbury RESTORED
Constituency Changes
First - transforming travel
An update - BAD, BAD news for Melksham ...
UPDATE - new timetables
High emotion
Someone can't wait!
Real time train monitoring
The Waiting Game
Service failure looses more customers
Not just the TransWilts and Melksham ...
On supporting other campaigns ...
New pages and information
Ploughing back OUR money, not theirs.
A whole pile of responses
Meetings and Consultation Responses
INPUTS NEEDED by 8th March
Safer current trains - the 06:56, 07:45 and 18:09
Roger Jones answers 5 months later!
A week is a long time
Three and a half answers out of 4
Draft timetables (continued)
Background and opinion
On the 05:52 this morning
Out with the old users, in with the new
Draft Timetable is here
Today or tomorrow
Meeting with a local MP
Waiting, with baited breath
Timetable consultation coming up
From my postbag ...
Recent Correspondence
Keep watching - coming to the boil!
Further threats
Current status ...
Were they purchasing votes?
Repeat - PLEASE write in with your aspirations
First want to hear your aspirations
Winners and losers in the Devizes constituency
Railway statistics and Melksham comparisons - how do we stand?
What does First pay the government for Greater Western?
Wilts County Council could save the Melksham / Transwilts train
Reply from MD of First Great Western
The Meeting Season
New Sign
Bustitution - buses for trains on Saturdays and Sundays
New year, 2006
Update
Christmas service - unrequired, or just unprovided?
A comparison across the world
Even new stations don't always survive
No final decision yet
New fares from 2nd January 2006
Every journey has a story
Upside Down
Melksham rail traffic up 33% in 3 months
Should badgers be culled?
Virtually no service - or excellent service. Request the latter.
First specific Melksham rumour ...
First Group - First answer on Melksham
Greater Western Franchise awarded
Train service fading away too?
Santa Claus at Melksham Station
A Quandry
From the rumour mill
Melksham and TransWilts train service - closure by stealth?
At Temple Meads today
Latest official answer
Driving customers away?
Don't drink and drive - drink and train.
Keeping the campaign tail up
STILL worth writing. To MP, To Dft, to bidders.
A bustle before the 17:02
Plus a footnote - Melksham to London
Timetable - Melksham to Reading and London
What does it cost to run a train?
A THOUSAND visitors
Forum Archives available
Busy train at Melksham
Monday morning, Melksham Station
Some scenes at Melksham Station
A disappointing letter
The storm's eye?
Warminster Bus Running Day, 2005
The system is overcomplex - no wonder some odd things happen
A case of the tail wagging the dog??
Kiss and Ride report
Ready for Tuesday
Bump from Glasgow
New stats prove it - the service IS used
Tracking codes for TransWilts stations
Try the train on 18th October
And more train users ...
Six NEW factors why the TransWilts train that serves Melksham should be enhanced and not cut
Tuesday, 18th October - Kiss and Ride day
Quotes from Government
Would this government close a station completely?
An easy timetable - Melksham to Chippenham and Swindon
Didn't you read page 52 of web document?
Core meeting
Regularity, Reliability, Realistic connections
Swindon to Trowbridge
35% Growth in one year - Melksham ticket statistics
Great meeting but just a start.
Meeting!
Old pictures. Not to be repeated event
Don't believe everything you hear
Excursion!
Official (Government) view ... and I agree
Encouraging traffic not just warm words
Meeting, 20th September - getting nervous
Don't let this become history!
Looking slightly wider
The story so far
Welcome to News and Views
Welcome to News and Views

This site is hosted by Well House Consultants Ltd. (http://www.wellho.net)
Contact Information
 

Further Information:
 Home
 Current Summary
 Daily update
 User forum
 Consultation
 Service now
 Service future
 Future Analysis
 Recent Statistics
 Recent letters
 Letter to DfT
 Save the train
 Presentation
 Support us
 Other Maps
 Station facilities
 Station approach
 Pictures
 Trains diverted
 History
 About Melksham
 Site Map
 About this site