|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Making sense of the Wiltshire County Council budget - 5405/9644
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 25th January 2008
I've been trying to put some sense of proportion on Wiltshire County Council's budget plans for 2008 / 2009 to give myself an idea of just how much of an impact the provision of an appropriate train service - i.e. a service every couple of hours including a sensible peak commuter provision - would actually cost the typical council taxpayer.
The budget for the year looks like it's 63 million pounds. It include big increases in areas like support for special needs education / care (up to 314 places at 50,000 each - an increase in the year of about 20 places, i.e. an increase ofone million pounds over last year's expenditure), and an increase of 2.8 million pounds on landfill tax expenditure - that's money that the county will be paying back to central government because (basically) they dump too much rubbish into the ground.
The 63 million pounds comes from a council tax that's going to average just over 1000 pounds per household, I understand; however, there's also other income that comes from central government (that's up by over 1 million pounds) and from services that are charged for. From figures I've seen in the local paper - but not been able to recalculate from source data - if the council spends an extra 900,000 pounds a year, that equates to about an extra pound for each person living in a taxpaying household.
In other words - our council is suggesting that it's going to be so "dirty" it will spend over 3 pounds [color=brown]extra[/color] for each of us in landfill tax next year (I wonder what that's on top of in this year - I dread to think) but all the indications I have been given is that they are NOT proposing to spend [color=purple]7 pence[/color] on providing that little bit of funding that would provide a decent public transport link across the county, staring in December '08
((In a full year of service - 2009-2010 we would be looking at 30p per person, but then dropping off in very much the way the FGW / DfT franchise does, acknowledging grown in traffic)).
What would a TransWilts train running at the time YOU wanted to travel mean?
Journey time from Chippenham to Salisbury ... down from over 2 hours by bus, or 90 minutes with a dogleg via Bath on the train, to 55 minutes by direct train.
Journey time from Trowbridge to Swindon ... down from 95 minutes by direct bus, or 60 minutes with a dogleg via Bath on the train, to 35 minutes by direct train.
Journey time from Melksham to Salisbury ... down from over 2 hours by bus (and no train option after 06:43 in the morning!) to 45 minutes.
Please - Mrs Scott, Dr Robinson, Miss de Rhe-Philipe (Council leader, Council Chief executive, County Council Cabinet member responsible for environment and transport) - can't you cut just 10% of the extra dumping, and provide us with a service that would do so much good for the economy of the area? Thanking you in anticipation of your full, financial, support!
Note - I am already in contact with these people, and have put the case to them. If you want to put the case too, please email them - they are [firstname.lastname@example.org]Keith Robinson[/email], [email@example.com]Jane Scott[/email] and [firstname.lastname@example.org]Fleur de Rhe-Philipe[/email]. And please feel free to quote the information in this post and on this site.
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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
Letter to DfT
Save the train
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