|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
The Gillingham lesson - Integration? - 8105/13131
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 21st March 2010
The Greater Western RUS (Route Utilisation Strategy) evaluted an additional hourly service on the TransWilts, and came down in favour of it. I am very very glad of the word "additional" ...
It's oft commented that trains from Swindon at 06:16 and 18:44, and from Westbury at 07:02 and 19:35 are a pretty crazy service pattern when viewed against the travel needs of the corridor. And I totally agree with thos comments. But I'll also go on and point out to you just how much those services, at seemingly peverse times of day, are used. If you were to replace that timetable with a new, hourly one that didn't actually provide a service within a short time of each of the current services, then you would immediatly risk alienating and loosing the existing customer base - not a sensible thing to do.
Why am I posting this? "isn't it great that there's now an hourly service each way from Salisbury to Exeter". Yes - but a phone call from Gillingham yesterday pointed out to me how - even in such a scenario - there are looser. Buses haven't been retimed to connect with trains properly, trains - especially those against the majority flow - have been retimed, and there are people who now have to leve home up to an hour earlier to get to work or college on time.
Lest we forget - so much is about end to end journeys. A poll I'm running across FGW territory at the moment is giving early indictions that the overwhelming majority of people travelling by train have to connect in from other transport, or out to other transport, or both - and it's the integration that matters.
Let's look forward. Let's look to trains arriving in Westbury every hour from Swindon and from Bristol, and swapping passengers both ways. One train goes on to Salisbury and perhaps beyond, the other goes on to Frome and usually beyond, be that final destination Radstock or somewhere towards Weymouth or even Minehead.
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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
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