|Campaign update - news for December 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 ...
There are periods in every campaign where things appear to be going off the boil, when in fact there's a lot going on behind the scenes. And so it has been in the case for a TransWilts service improvement - although you've not seen much here, there have been a number of meetings, presentations, and discussions between the movers and shakers to try to get something resembling a usable train service - using the line that's already there, to carry the passengers who want to travel - from this coming December.
As First Great Western wrote last week to all the people who emailed then as a result of our pledge campaign - "We had hoped that we could organise an additional service through Wiltshire serving Melksham in particular. We looked very carefully at all the options, but whilst the plan received good support, and remains something we want to do, the cost of the new service is considerable. It will not be covered by the revenue that the service will generate, and as a commercial organisation we can only therefore proceed if we can find some joint funding to offset the costs. Despite our efforts this has to not proved possible to date, and we will not be able to offer any extra services in the next timetable due out in December."
Behind the scenes is a complex and sad story of vested interests, with no-one's primary interest being the passenger. I'm not pointing my finger at individuals, nor even organisations, but rather at the system that puts (a) the shareholders of an Aberdeen based company, (b) the government, who do NOT represent this area, and (c) a stand made "on principle" against helping to fund an appropriate service high above the needs of the passenger who would use it.
The email from First Great Western to all the people who have written in to support the service goes on "We will continue to discuss the plans with stakeholders and will keep looking for a partner to help finance the service, but this will not be possible before the December 2009 timetable (at the earliest)."
So what now?
The first question - do we really believe that it's not lost from this coming December, or it that just a negotiating tactic? And having decided what we think the answer is to that question, we can then move on to the second question ...
Watch this space ;-)
Written 2008-07-14 14:56:48
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Welcome to News and Views
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