|Government pressure to shut up. But let us look forward.
Well ... the Government's response to my petition for an appropriate train service made the front page of the Western Daily Press yesterday (article) under the headline "Blair Snubs Rail Misery". And we also got coverage in the Bath Chronicle, the Wiltshire Times and the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. The Spar shop / garage next door started giving me very funny looks as I kep coming in for more newspapers!
The response to the petition was disappointing - very disappointing. After all the hard word work, five year old figures and demonstrably wrong, pessimistic, forecats are regurgitated. The Civil servants know they're incorrect, damn it - and they know that the current service schedules are not appropriate. I can tell you this because I have spent a long time, on the phone in person, to 'Whitehall'. And to compound the disappointment, some "bright spark" has read the request for an appropriate service to mean a return to the old pre-December situation. No - I'm no Luddite and the petition was no request to step back in time - quite the reverse; it was a request to look forward. I agree with the Government response that the service should not revert to what it was - it should develop forward to meet the need. You'll note:
* Compound growth between 8% and 35% per annum over 5 years
* West Wilts towns to grow by 50% over the next 30 years
* Increasing road conjestion making the car commute less practical
* Cheaper trains perhaps for hire (to reduce cost)
* Envioronmental issues ...
But the $64,000 question is how we take this dreadful response from the Prime Minister's office and, never the less, work forward with the other forces that we know are there to a positive conclusion. And how we tie that in with support from the local transport authority (Wilsthire CC) and others around such as Somerset and Swindon to everyone's benefit.
So yesterday evening concluded with a most interesting call from a supporter / insider with a political "nose", warning me off criticising the Goverment too hard on their response. "He's trying to shut you up as the Government don't like this publicity" suggest Lisa and, yes, that's a big part of it. But at the same time, we DO have to work with these people - Glaswegian Ministers who don't even look after trains in Scotland - until the next general election in perhaps 2009 or 2010. My purpose is not to score political points with a political football of the railway service. It's to have provided an appropriate service. So, in spite of the idiosyncracies of the system and the distortions it brings, I'll work on with Tom Harris (DfT) , Alison Forster (FGW), Fleur de Rhe_Philipe (Wiltshire) for the joint aims. They can ALL come out as winners, and the travelling public can come out as winners too!
Written 2007-04-05 08:29:16
Available entries ...
Spring 2009 Campaign update
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Campaign update - news for December 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 ...
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Reply to Petition
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Bus connections to Melksham from Chippenham
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One year on
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Letter from Derek Twigg
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Every so often, stop and look
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A week is a long time
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Draft timetables (continued)
Background and opinion
On the 05:52 this morning
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Today or tomorrow
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At Temple Meads today
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Plus a footnote - Melksham to London
Timetable - Melksham to Reading and London
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A THOUSAND visitors
Forum Archives available
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The storm's eye?
Warminster Bus Running Day, 2005
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Kiss and Ride report
Ready for Tuesday
Bump from Glasgow
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35% Growth in one year - Melksham ticket statistics
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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
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Letter to DfT
Save the train
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