Why do we drink cow's milk, but not pig's milk?
Cows can produce around 65 pints of milk a day, whereas pigs produce around 17 pints. And pigs milk has to be collected from goodness knows how many teats, whereas cows have just 4 bigguns. Then you have the issue that pigs can't become pregnant while lactating whereas cows can, and that pig milk comes out a lot slower than cow's milk ....
What has this got to do with trains?
The Intercity 125 service from London Paddington to Bristol is a "cash cow" for First Great Western, and services run by 142 / 143 / 150 / 153 / 158 trains are pigs to finance. Not only does a "125" have many more seats, but the train runs faster too. So it takes more money per seat in a certain time, with fewer crew. It keeps taking the money for longer too since journey times tend to be longer, and because of a peverse fare system customers are charged much more per unit of product for the service that's cheaper to provide. Don't shoot the messenger, folks - sorry, that's the gist of the FGW operation and helps to explain why the 125s I was on last week were comfortable, but the "West" trains were overcrowded to the point of discomfort.
But there's rather more to it than that. For sure the "West" service will never produce a revenue stream that makes a significant contribution to the Chancellor directly - but it can sure as heck help the financial and economic case for the area and - at least in the case of the TransWilts history - there's a very high proportion of traffic on the local train that goes on to the main line service.
The majority of our customers now drive to Melksham. From Yeovil, from Warrington, from London, from Cambridge, from South Wales just recently. Customers who - in the past - would have travelled here all the way by train. But the options of "get a taxi from Chippenham", "get a bus from Bath" or "Sleep on the platform at Swindon and get the 06:18" attract only a minority. And the result is that the cutting of that 10 minute link, just a few times a day, has resulted in a huge loss of profitable business!
A return ticket between Melksham and London now costs over 100 pounds. Most customer on the route would travel (our business anyway) on main line 125 trains that have spare capacity anyway (timing details available) so a realistic accountant could put the whole of that 100 pounds down as TransWilts income. Let's see. If that was just 2 round journeys a day, just 5 days a week and 50 weeks a year, we're looking at an income for First of £50,000. And don't I recall that there used to be not 2 but 20 on each train.
Me thinks the cows will yield far more milk if they're given the pigs back to keep them company. And they'll all be much happier too.
Written 2008-02-16 21:57:10
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Welcome to News and Views
Welcome to News and Views
The story so far
Looking slightly wider
Don't let this become history!
Meeting, 20th September - getting nervous
Encouraging traffic not just warm words
Official (Government) view ... and I agree
Don't believe everything you hear
Old pictures. Not to be repeated event
Great meeting but just a start.
35% Growth in one year - Melksham ticket statistics
Swindon to Trowbridge
Regularity, Reliability, Realistic connections
Didn't you read page 52 of web document?
An easy timetable - Melksham to Chippenham and Swindon
Would this government close a station completely?
Quotes from Government
Tuesday, 18th October - Kiss and Ride day
Six NEW factors why the TransWilts train that serves Melksham should be enhanced and not cut
And more train users ...
Try the train on 18th October
Tracking codes for TransWilts stations
New stats prove it - the service IS used
Bump from Glasgow
Ready for Tuesday
Kiss and Ride report
A case of the tail wagging the dog??
The system is overcomplex - no wonder some odd things happen
Warminster Bus Running Day, 2005
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A disappointing letter
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Busy train at Melksham
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Don't drink and drive - drink and train.
Driving customers away?
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At Temple Meads today
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Santa Claus at Melksham Station
Train service fading away too?
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Should badgers be culled?
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Every journey has a story
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Even new stations don't always survive
A comparison across the world
Christmas service - unrequired, or just unprovided?
New year, 2006
Bustitution - buses for trains on Saturdays and Sundays
The Meeting Season
Reply from MD of First Great Western
Wilts County Council could save the Melksham / Transwilts train
What does First pay the government for Greater Western?
Railway statistics and Melksham comparisons - how do we stand?
Winners and losers in the Devizes constituency
First want to hear your aspirations
Repeat - PLEASE write in with your aspirations
Were they purchasing votes?
Current status ...
Keep watching - coming to the boil!
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Timetable consultation coming up
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Meeting with a local MP
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Out with the old users, in with the new
On the 05:52 this morning
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A week is a long time
Roger Jones answers 5 months later!
Safer current trains - the 06:56, 07:45 and 18:09
INPUTS NEEDED by 8th March
Meetings and Consultation Responses
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Ploughing back OUR money, not theirs.
New pages and information
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Service failure looses more customers
The Waiting Game
Real time train monitoring
Someone can't wait!
UPDATE - new timetables
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First - transforming travel
Southampton to Westbury RESTORED
Friday, 21st, Trowbridge
Meeting, Friday 21st
Celebrating a closure
What SWPTUF says
Meeting, 21st - notes
Parliamentary Debate, 25th April
First back down or buses too.
Diary Date - 12th May
RailFuture meeting today
RailFuture meeting - some gems
First way to get rid of customers?
Friday meeting - invite and details
It gets worse
Every so often, stop and look
Bus service costs 25 pounds per passenger to run?
Carrying fresh air around?
Put yourself in their shoes
Lies, damned lies and statistics
Our battle ....
... is part of a planned war
Political pressure - press release
How to catch the 18:48 from Chippenham - the DfT suggests
Internet connection issues
Selling off any possibility of improvement
Letter from Derek Twigg
Important but not refreshing meeting
Welcome for Michael Ancram and Chris Grayling
Visit by Chris Grayling and Michael Ancram
Friday, 7th July - Melksham
Rail future - the First Alternative
Pivotal decison - to grow or to strangle?
Bad news coming?
In praise of estate agents
Press Release - Open Access operator negotiations
Open Access case strengthened
A desire for honesty
Flowers for Melksham. Flowers at Melksham.
Has our publicity reached the right people?
One year on
A year on - an empty bank holiday
Bus connections to Melksham from Chippenham
Is this train used?
If its working well, change it so it doesnt.
20% service cut = 40% traffic cut?
A difficult choice for voters
Consultant's reports recommended a modest INCREASE
From Ystrad Mynach
Passenger or lemmings
Behind the new timetable
Is this fare?
Returning from their UK course
End of term - don't care
Current and future summary
2 weeks to go
Coming to a course in Melksham
Last Week - Press Release
They're gone ... but ...
New service - first impressions
"Told you so"
Welcome to 2007
PLEASE LOBBY - First, Dft, County Council, your MP
Keeping the diary rolling
Save the Train v More Train, Less Strain
Invite letter - 5th March 2007 meeting
IMPROVED PUBLIC TRANSPORT LINKS ACROSS WILTSHIRE?
Passengers or Customers?
A fast-moving story?
The traveller, not the train!
Report - Monday night's meeting - press brief
What is happening?
Reply to Petition
Petition Response - detail, opinion, context
Government pressure to shut up. But let us look forward.
Asking for the political and part views
Helsinki and Heathrow to Melksham - Saturday
Gordon Dodge, Rest in Peace
The way forward - improved service and improved station
A roundup from a MELKSHAM perspective
Update being updated!
News Roundup - a LOT is happening
New faces - mayors and chairs.
We have another hill to climb
Radio - tomorrow morning?
Weymouth, Poor Provisional, and Sunday
A Comparison - travel in the USA by train
The Ghost Train, Purton
How to fill platforms, and railway company coffers too!
FSB - North and West Wilts Commitee - Federation of Small Businesses
Frustrated but not depairing
Front page update
Comment on December timetables
A First to Stagecoach comparison
Does the new man want to play hard?
And the week ends with two more cancellations!
Comparing a Wiltshire town with a Norfolk one
Commutes are longer, and in the west we may know why
Campaigning Mantra - Philosophy behind the case
30 late, and a bus not a train ....
Staffing-go-round - but the campaigners carry on
Rail user groups do NOT represent rail users?
Cancellations, Changes and Crass Christmas
First Great Western's Melksham service branded "a disgrace"
A pile of 160 train tickets for tomorrow
Santa Claus spotted at Swindon Station
TransWilts trains ceased a year ago. Lets look forward
Trains to and from Melksham - Timetable from Dec07 to May08
Happy Christmas everyone!
How have trains being doing in the last 48 hours?
Asda - an opportunity that can be used or squandered
Another slap in the face from First Great Western
On truthfully advertising the case
Fare Strike Day
Comparing a different part of the country
Where has our train gone?
Want to comment? You're welcome on the forum
An unusual journey for me - some observations
The heart says "public transport", the head forces car
Not a Swiss clock railway this morning
Senseless service - could become sensible
Terminal 5 - a portent for the Olympics?
Loss of train - loss of job
Population growth, but congested roads
Road - busy ... railway - no trains, so no users
One long journey ends and another begins
Campaign update - news for December 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 ...
Preserved Railways - a look forward
Spring 2009 Campaign update
Letter to DfT
Save the train
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