Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Social Engineering - changing peoples way of life by changing timetables - 2448/5498
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 3rd June 2007

Crossposted from the Bath to Oxford forum on [url][/url]

Mandy is seriously considering giving up her current job, and Sam has already made dramatic changes to hers - all due to the timtable changes introduced by First Great Western last December.

Re: Social Engineering - changing peoples way of life by changing timetables - 2448/5499
Written by Steve Bray on Sunday, 3rd June 2007

My understanding that the withdrawal of the Bristol/Oxford trains was down to pathing constraints on the Main Line. Reason or excuse? With mainly 4 trains per hous between Didcot and Swindon, plus a 2 hourly extra Cheltenham Spa train, I would have thought that this wouldn't have been too critical. Even between Oxford and Didcot, there are usually 6 trains per hour, so I am sure the service could have been retained.

I certainly have changed my travel plans since the new tim,etable was introduced. Travelling on a Sunday from the Cotswold Line to the Reading/Gatwick Line now necessitates a "connection" of between 55 and 58 minutes at Reading, so now instead of going to Dorking to Malvern for the weekend, I now do a day trip on a Saturday, where the connectons are better.

Re: Social Engineering - changing peoples way of life by changing timetables - 2448/5517
Written by Lee on Monday, 4th June 2007

[quote author=Graham Ellis link=topic=2448.msg5498#msg5498 date=1180858543]Why was the direct train withdrawn?[/quote]

The blame for this (as well as the lack of a station at Corsham) can be laid at the door of the SRA. From the Great Western Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy (link below.) :

Aspiration - Re-introduction of through services between Oxford and Bristol.

Current SRA view - Services were withdrawn in 2003 due to low levels of demand and to improve performance on the heavily utilised routes over which they operated. No justification has been found to warrant reversal of that decision.

The SRA provided RPP funding for a new station at Corsham , with a planned opening date of 2003. However , they then proceeded to withdraw the Oxford - Bristol service that would have called there.

The SRA took the following view of the Corsham station proposal in the Great Western Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy :

"Scheme design and development was previously undertaken. The business case for the station is currently poor due to cost escalation as a result of unforeseen ground conditions and the withdrawal of the Oxford - Bristol trains which were to have provided the service (the SRA were the ones who withdrew the service.)

Unlikely to proceed at the present time."

As has been noted elsewhere on this site , campaigners continue to fight for a new station at Corsham.

The fact that First appear to have included re-routing the 232 Bath - Corsham - Chippenham bus service via Chippenham railway station as part of their bid for the Greater Western Franchise seems to indicate that they see the bus , not the train , as the future provider of public transport for Corsham. The fact that First won the franchise based on that bid appears to indicate that the DfT share that view.

I also feel that an Oxford - Bristol service is unlikely to be re - introduced in the near future , despite the fact that Jacobs recommended that it should be (pages 40 & 41 of the link below.)

That , of course , is only my assessment. If First or the DfT were to announce that a new station was to open at Corsham , to be served by a Bristol - Oxford service , then I would happily admit to being proved wrong.

link to index of articles

Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

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