|First way to get rid of customers?
A course, three delegates ... but not one brought their own car. I used to say to people that around 40% of our customers came by train, but this week it's 66% and that's not been unusual of late.
Anyone using the train to Melksham finds it isn't easy - you just try to find out about it in Swindon, where it starts. Go up to the timetable sheets that list departures and you'll find no mention of Melksham on there ... nor Trowbridge, nor Westbury. And you'll be lucky if the timetable racks contain the approprpriate timetable. "Sorry - they're out of print" the young lady who was filling the rack on Saturday told me. "You could go up to the ticket counter and they'll print something out for you" she said, pointing me in the direction of a queue. "There's only three trains a day, otherwise you change at Bath".
It isn't as if these trains are unused, either. Here's a picture that I look last Saturday afternoon of a service that's to be withdrawn from December. Do you know what I think it is? Until last month, the train service to Melksham was run by Wessex Trains - part of National Express - and was a limb of their services that ran into First Group territory; it always felt like an unwelcome guest and information was hard to come by. The First Group told us that there would be no magic solution to all the problems and issues, but the did pull their finger our by removing the Wesses trains name from our station in the days BEFORE they took over, and getting new noices there within a couple of days and new uniforms for all their staff too, so surely they have now had plenty of time to put up fresh timetables to cover the new service they've just taken into their fold?
Here's the Saturday train again, on its way back to Melksham. Pretty busy, eh? Where's the "Fresh Air" that the previous secretary of state thinks our train is carrying around?
I don't actually object to the staff who fill the brochure rack at Swindon not knowing about train services, but I do object to them getting it wrong. There are NOT "only three trains a day", there are five. And you do NOT change at Bath at other times - or at least, if you change at Bath, it's a dogleg journey and a change into a BUS at the nearby bus station.
Was my experience unfortunate and unique? I wish it was!
On Monday morning, I went to meet a customer off the 09:12 and no-one arrived. Indeed the train looked very quiet indeed ... never seen it quite so bad for many months. The mystery was solved when we got a phone call from our customer telling us that he was stuck in Swindon; the London connection had been 20 minutes late, and so had missed. I'm told that the staff at Swindon suggested he wait for the next train at about 14:30 ... indeed, they advised him that these were the ONLY TWO trains each day to Melksham ...
Isn't it ironic that with the huge increase in traffic on this line over the past few years, and with the roads getting more and more clogged, it IS to be killed back to 2 trains a day in the Autumn. Looks like the First staff at Swindon just can't wait for it to happen!
Written 2006-05-09 10:48:50
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
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
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
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
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 ...
Keep watching - coming to the boil!
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!
UPDATE - new timetables
An update - BAD, BAD news for Melksham ...
First - transforming travel
Southampton to Westbury RESTORED
Friday, 21st, Trowbridge
Meeting, Friday 21st
Celebrating a closure
What SWPTUF says
Meeting, 21st - notes
Parliamentary Debate, 25th April
First back down or buses too.
Diary Date - 12th May
RailFuture meeting today
RailFuture meeting - some gems
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?
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
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
Coming to a course in Melksham
Last Week - Press Release
They're gone ... but ...
New service - first impressions
"Told you so"
Welcome to 2007
PLEASE LOBBY - First, Dft, County Council, your MP
Keeping the diary rolling
Save the Train v More Train, Less Strain
Invite letter - 5th March 2007 meeting
IMPROVED PUBLIC TRANSPORT LINKS ACROSS WILTSHIRE?
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
The way forward - improved service and improved station
A roundup from a MELKSHAM perspective
Update being updated!
News Roundup - a LOT is happening
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
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
Letter to DfT
Save the train
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