Save the Melksham Train
Meeting, 21st - notes

Friday 21st April, Trowbridge.

I arrived on the 18:09 from Melksham, walked in after Dr Andrew Murrison (MP for Westbury) had started talking; he was emphasising the through Bristol to Waterloo trains as that, he told us, what the big railway subject in his postbag. He did confirm that he'll be attending the debate on the Greater Western Franchise in parliament on Tuesday, and urged us to let him (if his constituents) know of our concerns by then. I've written to my own MP, Michael Ancram, to encourage him to attend too.

Main Meeting

South West Public Transport Users' Forum , Chris Irwin in the chair.

Chris introduced Andrew Griffiths, new General Manager for Bristol and Somerset for First, who was seated beside him on the platform. Andrew was formerly with Wessex Trains, looking after the Cornish Branch lines, and did a sterling job in growing use and traffic there. We welcome him to this part of the network.

In his introduction, Chris told us that any improvements would likely have to
be based on availability of stock, and that in the current climate it would be unlikely for the government to sanction any extra capital expenditure such as restoring track to the third platform at Chippenham or the fourth at Westbury. And he said that any changes would need to be based on strong evidence.

GORDON EDWARDS has analysed in some detail the draft timetables and replied to the 8th March consultation for SWPTUF. His reply stated that the draft timetable had so many holes in it, with two trains in opposite directions on the same single line at the same time, many missed connections and so little regard to current customer flows that it really wasn't fit for purpose.

He highlighted Keynsham, where the 4 three-coach trains that run from Bristol in the evening peak are reduced to 2 two-coach trains. He highlighted Frome, with an 07:04 departure to Bristol followed by a 2 hour gap ...

Gordon was unable to comment on First's planned changes of 3rd April as they're only proposals to be put to the DfT yet and so they're even more wooly in their definition than the draft timetables.

KATE HOARE. Head of Strategic Development. Planning Transport and. Sustainable Development. Kate highlighted how the new timetables abandoned the needs of the poorer sector of society; there's a much higher proportion of schools traffic and relatively local travel to work, hospital type traffic - as well as leisure and tourism - on the Portsmouth and Southampton to Bristol and Swindon lines, and their needs seem to have come below other user's aspirations.

ANDREW GRIFFITHS. General Manager for the Area, First. Andrew told us that the 9000 or so responses to the consultation basically filtered down to around 40 areas of concern. He believes that the 3rd April proposals solve around a half of these, and address to some degree a lot (but not all) of the other issues.

[[Speaking with Andrew personally, it seems that the Swindon to Southamton service and trains to Melksham is one of the issues that has not been dealt with. He offered a sympathetic ear, and a willingness to provide much more information to me which I have followed up already by email. He also took away a copy of our various reports which I think were new to him (could be wrong on that) and will read them through. Most notably, the report that Julian Crow said there was "nothing wrong" with that advocated a two-hourly service]]

The timetable from December will be available, subject to Network Rail and ministerial signoff, on the web from June. At that point it is said that major changes would not be possible.

First will consult again on services from December 2007, starting in January 2007.

The FLOOR WAS THROWN OPEN to questions (Chris Irwin is excellent at giving everyone a fair word at these events!) and many points were raised and discussed. One of these was the Swindon to Westbury Service, and it was notable that there was considerable support there for the line - I would say a sizable minority of the audience. There were some gasps of surprise when the new service was described from delegates from other parts. Several speakers spoke (including a professional Transport planner) spoke of moving to Melksham because of the current service, and having now to reconsider.

Andrew offered no hope / suggestions other than to keep writing and for the local authorities to work together on this one, which doesn't happen enough in this part of the country and is one of the reasons we're coming poorly out of this current series of reviews.
Officers from Wiltshire suggested that they co-operate across borders, citing the case of the Community rail line from Bristol to Weymouth even though they decided not to join the Severnside Transport Group; they didn't mention any co-operation with Swindon or Hampshire as regards the Swindon to Southampton line.

Written 2006-04-23 20:18:19

Available entries ...

Welcome to News and Views
Welcome to News and Views
The story so far
Looking slightly wider
Don't let this become history!
Meeting, 20th September - getting nervous
Encouraging traffic not just warm words
Official (Government) view ... and I agree
Don't believe everything you hear
Old pictures. Not to be repeated event
Great meeting but just a start.
35% Growth in one year - Melksham ticket statistics
Swindon to Trowbridge
Regularity, Reliability, Realistic connections
Core meeting
Didn't you read page 52 of web document?
An easy timetable - Melksham to Chippenham and Swindon
Would this government close a station completely?
Quotes from Government
Tuesday, 18th October - Kiss and Ride day
Six NEW factors why the TransWilts train that serves Melksham should be enhanced and not cut
And more train users ...
Try the train on 18th October
Tracking codes for TransWilts stations
New stats prove it - the service IS used
Bump from Glasgow
Ready for Tuesday
Kiss and Ride report
A case of the tail wagging the dog??
The system is overcomplex - no wonder some odd things happen
Warminster Bus Running Day, 2005
The storm's eye?
A disappointing letter
Some scenes at Melksham Station
Monday morning, Melksham Station
Busy train at Melksham
Forum Archives available
A THOUSAND visitors
What does it cost to run a train?
Timetable - Melksham to Reading and London
Plus a footnote - Melksham to London
A bustle before the 17:02
STILL worth writing. To MP, To Dft, to bidders.
Keeping the campaign tail up
Don't drink and drive - drink and train.
Driving customers away?
Latest official answer
At Temple Meads today
Melksham and TransWilts train service - closure by stealth?
From the rumour mill
A Quandry
Santa Claus at Melksham Station
Train service fading away too?
Greater Western Franchise awarded
First Group - First answer on Melksham
First specific Melksham rumour ...
Virtually no service - or excellent service. Request the latter.
Should badgers be culled?
Melksham rail traffic up 33% in 3 months
Upside Down
Every journey has a story
New fares from 2nd January 2006
No final decision yet
Even new stations don't always survive
A comparison across the world
Christmas service - unrequired, or just unprovided?
New year, 2006
Bustitution - buses for trains on Saturdays and Sundays
New Sign
The Meeting Season
Reply from MD of First Great Western
Wilts County Council could save the Melksham / Transwilts train
What does First pay the government for Greater Western?
Railway statistics and Melksham comparisons - how do we stand?
Winners and losers in the Devizes constituency
First want to hear your aspirations
Repeat - PLEASE write in with your aspirations
Were they purchasing votes?
Current status ...
Further threats
Keep watching - coming to the boil!
Recent Correspondence
From my postbag ...
Timetable consultation coming up
Waiting, with baited breath
Meeting with a local MP
Today or tomorrow
Draft Timetable is here
Out with the old users, in with the new
On the 05:52 this morning
Background and opinion
Draft timetables (continued)
Three and a half answers out of 4
A week is a long time
Roger Jones answers 5 months later!
Safer current trains - the 06:56, 07:45 and 18:09
INPUTS NEEDED by 8th March
Meetings and Consultation Responses
A whole pile of responses
Ploughing back OUR money, not theirs.
New pages and information
On supporting other campaigns ...
Not just the TransWilts and Melksham ...
Service failure looses more customers
The Waiting Game
Real time train monitoring
Someone can't wait!
High emotion
UPDATE - new timetables
An update - BAD, BAD news for Melksham ...
First - transforming travel
Constituency Changes
Southampton to Westbury RESTORED
Friday, 21st, Trowbridge
Meeting, Friday 21st
Celebrating a closure
Meeting, tonight
Friday's meeting
What SWPTUF says
Parliamentary Debate, 25th April
First back down or buses too.
Diary Date - 12th May
RailFuture meeting today
RailFuture meeting - some gems
First way to get rid of customers?
Friday meeting - invite and details
It gets worse
Every so often, stop and look
Bus service costs 25 pounds per passenger to run?
Carrying fresh air around?
Home soon.
Put yourself in their shoes
Lies, damned lies and statistics
Our battle ....
... is part of a planned war
Political pressure - press release
How to catch the 18:48 from Chippenham - the DfT suggests
Internet connection issues
Selling off any possibility of improvement
Letter from Derek Twigg
Important but not refreshing meeting
Welcome for Michael Ancram and Chris Grayling
Visit by Chris Grayling and Michael Ancram
Friday, 7th July - Melksham
Rail future - the First Alternative
Pivotal decison - to grow or to strangle?
Bad news coming?
In praise of estate agents
Press Release - Open Access operator negotiations
Open Access case strengthened
A desire for honesty
Flowers for Melksham. Flowers at Melksham.
Has our publicity reached the right people?
One year on
A year on - an empty bank holiday
Bus connections to Melksham from Chippenham
Is this train used?
If its working well, change it so it doesnt.
20% service cut = 40% traffic cut?
A difficult choice for voters
Consultant's reports recommended a modest INCREASE
From Ystrad Mynach
Taunton meeting
More cancellations
Passenger or lemmings
Behind the new timetable
Is this fare?
Returning from their UK course
End of term - don't care
Current and future summary
2 weeks to go
Fading away?
Coming to a course in Melksham
Last Week - Press Release
They're gone ... but ...
New service - first impressions
"Told you so"
Christmas, 2006
Welcome to 2007
PLEASE LOBBY - First, Dft, County Council, your MP
Key players
Keeping the diary rolling
End game?
Save the Train v More Train, Less Strain
Invite letter - 5th March 2007 meeting
Passengers or Customers?
A fast-moving story?
The traveller, not the train!
Report - Monday night's meeting - press brief
What is happening?
Reply to Petition
Petition Response - detail, opinion, context
Government pressure to shut up. But let us look forward.
Asking for the political and part views
Helsinki and Heathrow to Melksham - Saturday
Gordon Dodge, Rest in Peace
An update
The way forward - improved service and improved station
A roundup from a MELKSHAM perspective
Update being updated!
News Roundup - a LOT is happening
Diary notes
New faces - mayors and chairs.
We have another hill to climb
Radio - tomorrow morning?
Weymouth, Poor Provisional, and Sunday
A Comparison - travel in the USA by train
The Ghost Train, Purton
How to fill platforms, and railway company coffers too!
FSB - North and West Wilts Commitee - Federation of Small Businesses
Frustrated but not depairing
Front page update
Comment on December timetables
A First to Stagecoach comparison
Does the new man want to play hard?
And the week ends with two more cancellations!
Comparing a Wiltshire town with a Norfolk one
Commutes are longer, and in the west we may know why
Campaigning Mantra - Philosophy behind the case
30 late, and a bus not a train ....
Staffing-go-round - but the campaigners carry on
Rail user groups do NOT represent rail users?
Cancellations, Changes and Crass Christmas
First Great Western's Melksham service branded "a disgrace"
A pile of 160 train tickets for tomorrow
Santa Claus spotted at Swindon Station
TransWilts trains ceased a year ago. Lets look forward
Trains to and from Melksham - Timetable from Dec07 to May08
Happy Christmas everyone!
How have trains being doing in the last 48 hours?
Asda - an opportunity that can be used or squandered
Another slap in the face from First Great Western
On truthfully advertising the case
Fare Strike Day
Comparing a different part of the country
Where has our train gone?
Want to comment? You're welcome on the forum
An unusual journey for me - some observations
Milk producers
Meeting Season
The heart says "public transport", the head forces car
Not a Swiss clock railway this morning
Senseless service - could become sensible
Terminal 5 - a portent for the Olympics?
Loss of train - loss of job
Population growth, but congested roads
Road - busy ... railway - no trains, so no users
One long journey ends and another begins
Campaign update - news for December 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 ...
Preserved Railways - a look forward
Spring 2009 Campaign update

This site is hosted by Well House Consultants Ltd. (
Contact Information

Further Information:
 Current Summary
 Daily update
 User forum
 Service now
 Service future
 Future Analysis
 Recent Statistics
 Recent letters
 Letter to DfT
 Save the train
 Support us
 Other Maps
 Station facilities
 Station approach
 Trains diverted
 About Melksham
 Site Map
 About this site