Save the Melksham Train
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Working with industry and political players in the background to turn an appropriate service specification into a reallity

January / February 2011 - a window of opportunity is briefly open to establish much more appropriate services from this December. See TransWilts Rail.

An Update

"Save the Train" was set up in 2005, in answer to a threat to the train service on the TransWilts line, which was to be cut back the following year, and we feared that this would be just a step towards the total loss of the direct train service linking Swindon and Chippenham to Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster and Salisbury, and to the closure of Melksham Station.

The Objectives of the "Save the Train" group were, and remain
• to raise awareness of the issues
• to evaluate what's an appropriate service
• to work towards that appropriate service
• to ensure that the service regained is retained.

We have come a long way forward. In those dark early days, we were told that the line was a "no-hoper" and that we were "just passengers who don't know how difficult and complicated railway matters are" (which did have an element of truth). But we learned and we studied, and time have changed too - and with those changes the line has moved up to being the best case in the South West for a dramatic improvement - with a service of one train per hour in each direction, the line shows a Benefit Cost ratio of 1.7 which justifies the case.

But there's a huge difference between theory and practise, and the figures need validating and detailing - just where are the traffic flows that would be handled by such a service, where would it work, and who will supply the seeding funds to get it off the ground, and the mechanism to transform the benefit gained into hard cash to pay the train operator?

TransWilts Community Rail Partnership

1700 people signed our Prime Minister's petition. Some 800 have pledged their specific support for our 2010 service request - over three quarters of whom live in Wiltshire. There are people who'll gain from a 35 minute direct train journey from Trowbridge to Swindon rather than 95 minutes on the bus or 55 in a car - and we want them to help us turn theory into practise.

There's work involved in gathering data. There's publicity needed. There's the current service that offers some excellent travel opportunities - and there's much more.

We were struck the other day by a comment from a Town Clerk in one of the towns along the route: "We have the station and trains, but we don't really know what's going on there and things come as a surprise sometimes". A Community Rail Partnership will allow the communities served by the TransWilts line and the railway industry that provides train services to those communities to work together for their mutual benefit

It's early days [yet] - writing this on 2nd March 2010, we are exploring with a few key players what would and would not work to come up with the best, inclusive proposals. Big launch - 26th March (Keep that evening clear in your diary).

If you want to see what some other Community Rail Partnerships are up to, have a look at The Heart of Wessex and Three Rivers - both of which are doing a great job, and both of which neighbour us. Now is the time to set up such a partnership for the TransWilts.
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We're moving forward. The old pages are archived (you may link to them through the "Old Home Page") ... but we hope you'll move forward with us rather than dwell too much on the past.