|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Beware - reductions and closures by stealth - 7934/12811
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 17th October 2008
Have you heard of Shippea Hill, Lakenheath and Buckenham?
I expect you've heard of Lakenheath - it the place that has the big airbase, just like Melksham had during the last war. But there are other possible similarities and lessons too.
Lakenheath has a station, and the National Express franchise that won it had to provide a limited daily service for the length of the franchise ... except it had been revised severley downwards after just a year so that it now has a Saturday and Sunday Only service. Shippea hill has just one train a day to "take children to school" but no matching train to get them home, again contrary to the specification.
These examples show that the promise made that "it's in the specification so it can't be changed" is a lie and that we need to be alert to quiet specification changes ... of which there have already been some for the TransWilts ...
((Picture - Melksham station last night, when I went there to drop off a passenger. I don't know who had closed the gate - it's something which I never saw in Wessex Trains days, but it's not the first time under First ...))
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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
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