Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2011
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 21st November 2006

Following the First Great Western timetable changes regarding Severn Tunnel Junction , several commuters have set up a campaign to save the service (link below.)

They have planned a public meeting with First Great Western & Welsh Assembly Members for tomorrow , Wed 22nd November at Caldicot Choir Hall.

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2012
Written by Sion Bretton on Tuesday, 21st November 2006

Bit late?

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2015
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 22nd November 2006

Yes Sion, but Looe did it in a fortnight.  By the way ... it's always too late; I recall being told in August of LAST year that we were too late on the franchise consultation, which had been due in the previous month.  And, as I later found out, had been so poorly publicised that there were a total of 8 inputs relating to the TransWilts.  Compare that to over 14,000 different visitors to this little website of mine.

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2018
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 22nd November 2006

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction in train services calling at the commuter station of Severn Tunnel Junction; and if he will give guidance to First Great Western on maintaining services to rail users who depend on this station.

Mr. Tom Harris: The level of service to operate from December 2006 from Severn Tunnel Junction towards Bristol in the morning was specified to meet actual and forecast demand. I expect First Great Western (FGW) to listen to the views of its passengers and stakeholders and to investigate whether changes can be made to services to meet their needs where this proves to be necessary. In this case I understand that, in response to local opinion, FGW is planning, subject to the rail industry timetabling process, to arrange for additional services to stop at Severn Tunnel Junction in the peak hours with effect from the May 2007 timetable change.

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2040
Written by Lee on Thursday, 23rd November 2006

From the Save Severn Tunnel Junction website :

Last night First Great Western spokesman, Andrew Griffiths, defended his firms decision to slash commuter rail services from Severn Tunnel Junction to Bristol and Bath.

From 11th December the number of morning trains operated by First will slash from the current five to just one - the 8.25am.

Commuters and politicians united in their condemnation of the cuts. They were highly critical that the Department for Transport failed to send a representative to the meeting, calling it an act of cowardice.

Andrew Davies, Transport Minister in the Assembly is leading the attack on Westminster. Rhodri Morgan, the Assembly's First Minister, is also fully behind the campaign to restore services.

Action Team leader, Paul Tidmarsh said 'The response from all politicians has been terrific. We will now take the fight to Westminster. The meeting tonight clearly identifies the Government of the United Kingdom as being behind these cuts. We will continue to fight them'.

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2041
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 23rd November 2006

From Tom Harris:

[quote] I expect First Great Western (FGW) to listen to the views of its passengers and stakeholders and to investigate whether changes can be made to services to meet their needs where this proves to be necessary.

Although that's an answer on STJ, it doesn't seem specific to that service.  It would be an excellent idea for us to point out to FGW what can be done, along the lines posted here, to meet the needs of TransWilts passengers.  In the case of 7TJ, the investigateion has not been done. In the case of Melksham, several of us have done it and concluded that changes CAN be made

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2043
Written by Lee on Thursday, 23rd November 2006

[quote author=Lee link=topic=36.msg1129#msg1129 date=1154773685]Pilining station is on the Bristol - Cardiff line which is projected to achieve high - level tonnage growth to 2015 (Page 11 , Figure 11 of the link below , Network Rail Business Plan 2006.)

Here are a couple of quotes from the link above (Page 10) :

"There is continuing interest in providing greater capacity
and reduced journey times, to offer improved
frequencies as an attractive alternative to road to
both Newport and to Cardiff thereby seeking to
actively increase rail market share."

"New stations at Magor with Undy,
replacing Severn Tunnel Junction, Llanwern,
Coedkernew, St Mellons and Llanharan are

Here is a link to the Jacobs Consultancy report that proposed these new stations.

Page 47.

"New Stations at Caerleon, Sebastopol and Llantarnam, Magor with Undy (possibly as a replacement for Severn Tunnel Junction Station), Llanwern and Coedkernew Stations

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2140
Written by Lee on Saturday, 2nd December 2006

SEWTA fear that the service cuts could damage their rail strategy (link below.)

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2146
Written by paulsouthwales on Saturday, 2nd December 2006

The cutbacks at Severn Tunnel Junction are just obsurd.

The trains are going past the station on their way from Wales to Bristol but are no longer stopping. 

Its not as if the TOC has to look for extra rolling stock etc so that excuse cannot be used.

I just dont get it! 

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2159
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 3rd December 2006

[quote author=paulsouthwales link=topic=668.msg2146#msg2146 date=1165097073]
Its not as if the TOC has to look for extra rolling stock etc so that excuse cannot be used.

I just dont get it!

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2202
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 6th December 2006

Its all STJ today :

Letter to DfT :

Subject: Severn Tunnel Junction

Good Morning Gentlemen,

You are no doubt aware of the disgraceful situation that I and my fellow commuters will find ourselves from the commencement of the Winter Timetable.

Our peak services from Severn Tunnel Junction into Bristol will be cut from six to two, and a similar cutting excercise in the evening peak on the return. The reason for this is still not clear, indeed there can be no logical reason for doing this, all of the trains are well used as I am sure that the many passenger surveys and ticket sales will tell you.

If I can just bring one item of information to your attention, in a recent commuter questionnaire carried out by the Save Severn Tunnel Action Group it was apparent that 23% of commuters will be lost to rail, are you happy with losing nearly a quarter of your daily fare payers?

What a terrible situation to find yourselves in when Government are actively encouraging peple to use public transport and then you sanction this.

Between the three of you, you have the authority and the power to put a stop order on the trains I have listed below, in time for next Monday, indeed I can see no reason why you would not do this simple and straight forward request, gentlemen, I urge you to reconsider for the sake of the hundreds of people who will be effected if these draconian cuts go ahead.

0630 and 0730 from Cardiff
1654 and 1754 from Bristol Temple Meads


Alan Vickers SSTAG

Press release :

Jessica Morden, Labour MP for Newport East is seeking an urgent meeting with the Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to press for a resolve to the impending crisis to the rail services at Severn Tunnel Junction, following First Great Western's decision to halve services from this station from 10 December.

Members of Parliament have united to demand that key First Great Western cuts aren't implemented. Welsh Assembly leaders and members have added their voices to those of the MPs.

Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East, said "we have had very good discussions with the Department for Transport so far and we believe they will support any workable solution that First Great Western and Network Rail propose. We are continuing to press for a solution to this problem, support is being shown from across the political spectrum in parliament for the motion I tabled last week. I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of the Save Severn Tunnel Campaign for their efforts to keep pushing for a solution and in maintaining the pressure on all involved"

Leaders of the action team aiming to halt the cuts to key services are asking that from 11 December:
the 06.44 and 07.44 services from Newport
the 16.54 and 17.54 from Bristol Temple Meads
all stop at Severn Tunnel Junction as they currently do.

At a public meeting on 22 November, First Great Western spokesman, Andrew Griffiths, Regional Manager for First Great Western, said the main reasons for the cuts were timetable management changes at Government level, and the company had no choice but to follow what the Department of Transport said. (Source: Monmouthshire Free Press: 29 November.)

But he previously admitted, in a letter to Brenda Lloyd, Clerk to Undy with Magor Community Council, on 27 October, that: 'It would seem that the needs of commuters were overlooked'.

Commenting on the current situation, campaign leader David Flint said 'We have been having tremendous support from all political parties, all it needs now is for First Great Western to show some goodwill'. David added 'After all, it was their failure to recognise the needs of Severn Tunnel commuters, and their failure to note the many objections to the new timetable, that led to this ridiculous situation.'

The plan to cut the rail service flies in the face of Government policy regarding Co2 emissions from cars, and the need to relieve congested roads.

Currently, approximately 170 commuters a day catch trains toward Bristol and Bath from Severn Tunnel Junction. These commuters live as far away as Cardiff and the Forest of Dean, as well as Newport, Monmouth, Raglan, Usk, Lydney, Chepstow and Caldicot. This number includes University students and school children. With no viable alternative except to drive to work, already busy roads will become even more congested, and the cost to commuters in parking and tolls on the Severn River Crossing will be around

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2203
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 6th December 2006

The following information came from the responses to questionnaires completed at the public meeting about the cuts to rail services held on 22 November 2006.

Forms Returned 78

Male Travellers 52.56%
Female Travellers 47.44%

Travelling Now: Outward

Train time % of passengers using service
05h12 0%
06h24 1.28%
06h54 12.82%
07h27 23.08%
07h54 30.77%
08h26 10.26%
09h26 1.28%
Various 17.95%
Other Dir. 2.56%

Travel plans from 11 Dec, once cuts begin.

Train Time % of Passengers using service
07h27 52.56%
08h25 14.10%
09h26 1.28%
Various 3.85%
Other Dir. 3.85%
Not Rail 23.08%

Travelling Now Return

Train time % of passengers using service
15h20 0%
15h50 1.28%
16h20 6.41%
16h50 16.67%
17h20 19.23%
17h50 20.51%
18h22 5.13%
18h50 5.13%
Various 21.79%
Other Dir. 3.85%

Travel plans from 11 Dec, once cuts begin

15h24 1.28%
16h24 10.26%
17h24 41.03%
18h24 19.23%
Various 7.69%
Other Dir. 3.85%
Not Rail 16.67%

Interested in replacement Bus Service

Yes 50%
No 50%


Bristol T.M 73.08%
Bath Spa 8.97%
Cheltenham 1.28%
Filton A.W. 8.97%
Newport 1.28%
Cardiff C. 1.28%
Bath/B.T.M. 5.13%

Re: Severn Tunnel Junction - 668/2215
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 6th December 2006

From the STJ Website :

A spokesperson for Jessica Morden MP said that Jessica has received information from Transport Minister Tom Harris which confirms that an announcement is due imminently from First Great Western.

Jessica Morden said "we are hopeful that First Great Western have found a way to reinstate the stops at Severn Tunnel Junction which will be good news for commuters."

Current position - Morning services have been re-instated , evening services havent. For the latest on this issue , visit the Save Severn Tunnel website (link contained in the first post of this topic.)

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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