Save the Melksham Train
This is an archived page.
Please see [here] if you're looking for the current "Save the Train" home page.
Please see [here] for the TransWilts site.
Friday, 26th March 2010. Launch of TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. Bridge House, Trowbridge, from 19:30
An exciting new step forward to rejeuvenation of the line, its service and its use
BUSY, EXCELLENT MEETING ... see [here] for initial report
Train service remains dire - southbound from Swindon at 06:15 and 18:45, northbound from Westbury at 07:02 and 19:35. Please pledge your support if you would like to see an increase to six trains a day -
arriving Swindon at 07:48 08:53 11:50 14:50 17:36 and 20:19,
returning at 06:18 09:02 12:02 15:02 17:55 and 18:45.

Keynote for 2010

Forum archive ... Blog archive

Swindon - MELKSHAM - Westbury

Melksham Station is served by trains on the Swindon to Trowbridge, Salisbury and Southampton line, currently (until 31.3.2006) operated by Wessex Trains.

The service at present is 5 trains each way on weekdays, 4 trains each way on Saturday and 3 trains each way on Sunday.

The franchise for operating the service is due for renewal in 2006 and the companies that are bidding were asked by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) to bid on the basis of offering a reduced service of just two return services a day. The SRA no longer exists, and bids were sent to Department for Transport for consideration. On 13th December, it was announced that The First Group had put in the winning bid. See BID ANNOUNCEMENT

On 1st December, I received the following reply forwarded to me by my MP: "The Greater Western franchise will commence in April 2005, with the proposed timetable being introduced in December 2006. Under the proposal the trains that run from Swindon to Westbury are planned to be reduced from five trains a day to two trains a day. These trains are lightly loaded, require significant subsidy and are poor value for money. The remaining two trains will be timed to allow for commuting journeys between Melksham and Swindon. Feedback from consultees will be used in negotiations with the preferred bidder whilst finalising the specification for the new frachise - DEREK TWIGG" Derek Twigg is the parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Transport and wrote this on 8th November.

I believe that it is in the interest of residents and visitors to Melksham to retain the train service at its current level, and that there are very good reasons why it should NOT be reduced at this time and in the way proposed. I have repeatedly asked for the definition of terms such as "lightly loaded" and "poor value", but have not (yet?) had ny answer. I content that with traffic growing at 35% per annum for the last five years, and with Melksham continuing to grow, the trains won't remain lightly loaded for much longer if they're allowed to remain

This site has been visited from 93214 distinct computers since it was launched on 14th August. Actual visitor numbers may be slightly higher due proxy (pooling) servers. There is interest.

I wrote to all bidders (including the First Group who won) advising them that I consider that the provision for Melksham is inadequate. I have had replies from all three, but those replies are sympathetic rather than substantive - they have to bid within the constraints laid down. I have also written to the Civil Servants who make the decisions at the Department for Transport, advising them in particular of recent usage statistics that show that the use of the service has grown OVER SEVEN FOLD since 2000/01. Replies have not been encouraging.

All is not lost, however; there IS scope for adjustment of the service later and to achieve this we need to provide yet more evidence, to lobby, and to encourage use of the existing service even further. You'll find details of these actions elsewhere on this site.

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