Save the Melksham Train
Last Week - Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

** Train Service to be withdrawn as from this weekend without adequate alternative

This weekend sees the end of most train services on the Swindon - MELKSHAM - Westbury route, leaving Melksham (population 24,000) without weekday daytime or commuter trains.

The last commuter train out of Melksham leaves this Friday at 17:02 (for Swindon) and returns from Swindon at 17:43. There are usually around 20 to 30 passengers on the train up to Swindon, and about twice that number on the return journey.

As from Monday, 11th December the passengers from Melksham for Swindon will have to catch the 16:47 or 18:03 buses, and walk across Chippenham to the train station to continue their journey to Swindon. A journey that takes 25 minutes this week will take 83 minutes next (16:47 bus, 17:12 into Chippenham, 17:55 train, 18:10 Swindon).

ACTIVITIES

Members of the press are very welcome to ride on the 17:02 from Melksham on 8th December and 17:43 return to cover this withdrawal of service. Some local campaigners who are also regular users will be on the service, and First group have been invited to send a representative to explain to passengers how the new services (very early morning and mid evening only) meet their customer's needs.

On Saturday, 9th December Santa Claus will be on board the 17:00 Saturday train to Swindon and he'll be back in Melksham at 18:16.

BACKGROUND

Under the Greater Western Frnchise, the Department for Transport specified that the Swindon to Southampton train service should be withdrawn. Service on the Southampton to Westbury section is provided by other services. On Westbury to Swindon, just two trains are to be run which the First group, who sucessfully bid for the franchise, are choosing to operate in what is described as "marginal" time - i.e. at a time that's convenient to the operator when their trains are not required elsewhere. The new (and only) trains that serve Melksham will leave Swindon at 06:19, and return there at 20:20.

The "TransWilts" service is the only train service that has linked the North and South of the county, connecting the largest towns in the country which are Swindon, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Warminster and Melksham. All of these towns are expected to grow over the next 20 years, with the Regional Spatial Strategy forecasting 15000 new homes in West Wilts alone - that's an increase at Melksham (for example) from 24,000 to 34,000 residents by 2026.

The A350 corridor, which serves this route, is congested with bottlenecks in and out of Swindon, around Chippeham, through the village of Beanace, through the Northern part of Melksham, and through Westbury.

Use of the train service has grown dramatically over the past 5 years - ticket sales from and to Melksham grew from 3000 per annum 5 years ago to 27400 in the latest published figures Trains that once were quiet are now busy, with 110000 journeys made on the service annually. We understand from paper revealed under FOI (Freedom of Information) legistlation that the decison to withdraw the service was based on a growth forcast of between 0.8% and 1.7%, and old (so low) data, but never the less came down in favour of a service
to run every 2 hours.

First indicated to the Department for Transport that they would be willing to provide an appropriate service for an extra 300,000 pounds per year (that should be set against their overall bid on 1,100,000,000 pounds for the Greater Western Franchise), but the Department for Transport failed to take up this element. They have also been in discussions with Wiltshire County Council, for whom the train service on the A350 corridor is a key element in the local transport plan.

"TransWilts" trains are wheelchair friendly, but alternatives such as a change of train in Bath or a transfer to and from the bus across Chippenham are impractical for the disabled, those with pushchairs or heavy luggage.

CONTACT

See http://www.savethereain.org.uk

This press release issued by Graham Ellis, who has been campaiging through "Save the Train" for this service, which is vital to his business and the livelyhood of the community of Melksham too.

Graham may be reached on 01225 708225 or via email - graham@wellho.net
Pictures available
404, The Spa, Melksham, SN12 6QL

Written 2006-12-05 13:22:47

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
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
Meeting, 21st - notes
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