Save the Melksham Train
RailFuture meeting - some gems

Glenda Lamont, Customer Services Director of First Great Western, told us that the following matters are still under discussion / looking for resolution between First and the Department for Transport:

1. The early morning service to Gatwick
2. Ivybridge
3. Stengthening the Cardiff to Porsmouth trains

She believes that they are "close to resolving" issue 3 by moving some stock around. Significantly, no mention of the Swindon to Southampton service.

A rumour I had heard before - but repeated as part of a keynote speech by a presenter who's views and information I respect:

The Deparement for Transport hadn't budgeted for anything like the 1.3 billion that First Group bid for the franchise - it's some 300 million more that they thought they would get. The Treasury is allowing the Department to keep the money which will be used to pay for overspends on road building programs.

In other words, a decent train service between Swindon and Westbury, which would cost 10 million pounds to run for 10 years, and 30 other such services, have been sacrifised by First in their keenness to win the bid, and the extra money that First will have to charge customers to make its payments to the government will in part go to the funding of overbudget / mismanaged road building programs.

I was saddened to hear that one of our elected bodies here in Melksham responded to the South West trains franchise suggesting that a saving in rolling stock could be made by cutting out the Bristol, Plymouth and Torbay services - cutting back the service from Waterloo to Salisbury and Exeter.

I am very much in favour of everyone expressing their views, but this council view does not represent my view nor, as far as I can gauge, the view of other local electors around here. Frankly, most Melksham electors have little interest in (or knowledge of) public transport in Devon.

The letter in question is, I understand, being taken as an example of how official bodies in the area support the pruning of services, and has made the Minister's "red box" so that he's espcially aware of such views. And the people at RailFuture who campaign tirelessly for an appropriate level of service are not best pleased, as you might imagine.

There's a further irony. The southern end of the Southampton to Swindon service has been given a one year reprive under First, and will then form a part of the South West trains franchise. By suggesting that the South West Franchise is trimmed back to Salisbury / Exeter, the council that wrote is advocating the withdrawal of the extra trains that could also have been used to extend the Southampton to Westbury service of the next year on through to Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon.

I'm going to post each of these three notes in a separate thread in the forum so that you can answer / discuss / respond if you wish. I have NOT named the local council involved in the third item, as I want to find out a bit more before shooting my mouth off. But the fury of other campaigners is real enough, and the words that silly *%$@* from Melksham were ringing in my ears yesterday!

Written 2006-05-07 08:43:58

Available entries ...

Spring 2009 Campaign update
Preserved Railways - a look forward
Campaign update - news for December 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 ...
One long journey ends and another begins
Road - busy ... railway - no trains, so no users
Population growth, but congested roads
Loss of train - loss of job
Terminal 5 - a portent for the Olympics?
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Not a Swiss clock railway this morning
The heart says "public transport", the head forces car
Meeting Season
Milk producers
An unusual journey for me - some observations
Want to comment? You're welcome on the forum
Where has our train gone?
Comparing a different part of the country
Fare Strike Day
On truthfully advertising the case
Another slap in the face from First Great Western
Asda - an opportunity that can be used or squandered
How have trains being doing in the last 48 hours?
Happy Christmas everyone!
Trains to and from Melksham - Timetable from Dec07 to May08
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Santa Claus spotted at Swindon Station
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First Great Western's Melksham service branded "a disgrace"
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Staffing-go-round - but the campaigners carry on
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Campaigning Mantra - Philosophy behind the case
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Comparing a Wiltshire town with a Norfolk one
And the week ends with two more cancellations!
Does the new man want to play hard?
A First to Stagecoach comparison
Comment on December timetables
Front page update
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FSB - North and West Wilts Commitee - Federation of Small Businesses
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A Comparison - travel in the USA by train
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Radio - tomorrow morning?
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Diary notes
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Reply to Petition
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Report - Monday night's meeting - press brief
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Welcome to 2007
Christmas, 2006
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Last Week - Press Release
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A desire for honesty
Open Access case strengthened
Press Release - Open Access operator negotiations
In praise of estate agents
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Rail future - the First Alternative
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Welcome for Michael Ancram and Chris Grayling
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Letter from Derek Twigg
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... is part of a planned war
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What SWPTUF says
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Meeting, tonight
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On supporting other campaigns ...
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Today or tomorrow
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Further threats
Current status ...
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Repeat - PLEASE write in with your aspirations
First want to hear your aspirations
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New year, 2006
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A THOUSAND visitors
Forum Archives available
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Kiss and Ride report
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Tuesday, 18th October - Kiss and Ride day
Quotes from Government
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Didn't you read page 52 of web document?
Core meeting
Regularity, Reliability, Realistic connections
Swindon to Trowbridge
35% Growth in one year - Melksham ticket statistics
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Old pictures. Not to be repeated event
Don't believe everything you hear
Official (Government) view ... and I agree
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Meeting, 20th September - getting nervous
Don't let this become history!
Looking slightly wider
The story so far
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