Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Dobwalls Trains For Sale - 3918/7477
Written by Lee on Friday, 7th September 2007

A one-off collection of some of the world's most desirable "miniature" locomotives , based on classic American designs , has gone to auction in the Westcountry (link below.)

For more than 35 years , the eight steam and diesel locos have tooled along two mile-long tracks at the Dobwalls Adventure Park , near Liskeard , one of the Westcountry's first tourist attractions.

For owner Malcolm Southern , however, the auction is tinged with sadness. It was his father , a farmer named John , who commissioned engineers to build the first loco after buying his son a mini-railway set. It prompted a shared passion for trains.

The first replica loco ran in the Southerns' back garden and was the foundation stone on which the well-known adventure park was built.

But with a new dawn at Dobwalls - plans are moving ahead for a multi - million - pound arts centre and holiday homes - most of the trains had come to the end of the line.

It will not be the end of an era , however. One steam train - General Palmer , one of the first in the family - has been held back. After a refurbishment , it is intended the loco will circle the new arts centre.

Details of the sealed auction can be seen at

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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