Save the Melksham Train
Invite letter - 5th March 2007 meeting

We're holding what could turn out to be a turning point meeting on 5th March, at 19:30. Here's the invite letter and YOU, dear reader, are invited as an interested party. Please let me know (I need to have a rough idea of numbers)

Dear [name],

I am writing to invite you to attend a meeting on the evening of Monday, 5th March to focus community support onto the "TransWilts" railway line that links Swindon, via Chippenham, Melksham and Trowbridge to Westbury, Dilton Marsh, Warminster and Salisbury. Formal invites are going out to many organiations involved, but additionally I'm inviting current, past,and potential future users and other interested parties too - this meeting and stong support COULD MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE.

The use of train service linking these towns - including the five largest towns in Wiltshire - grew dramatically up to last December; growth rates of between 8% and 35% per annum are quoted for the five years up to that point, and a service that was very quiet five years ago had become pretty busy by last autumn. But the service was cut back in December to just two trains a day, running at times that are inappropriate for the main traffic flows. The reasons given are poor economic value, but arguments from various parties to the decision were based on older (so lower) usage figures, and consultant's reports that assumed a growth rate of just 0.8% per annum.

I have various indications that the service provision is now being reconsidered much more throughly and constructively, with what I believe to be a better chance than at any point previously of us securing an appropriate service to meet customer needs. But we're still not out of the woods - we need a community push to ensure that the optimism isn't stillborn, and that a service - when provided - is well advertised and supported by the community. With the Regional Spatial Strategy proposing a high growth rate all the way from Swindon to West Wiltshire, increasing conjestion on the A350 and other roads in the area, and strong traffic flows between the towns in the county, a two hourly service starting later this year makes sense.

The meeting will start at 19:30 (arrive earlier for coffee) at Well House Manor, 48 Spa Road, Melksham SN12 7NY on Monday, 5th March. If you are unable to attend personally, please nominate an appropriate council member or officer to attend in your place. You are also welcome to pass this on to other parties and invitethem to attend on a less formal basis.

So that I can plan the meeting, I WOULD like some idea of numbers - it would be much appreciatiated if you can RSVP.

I look forward to seeing you at the start of next month


Graham Ellis
"Save the Train" -
Campaigning for the return and retention of an appropriate TransWilts service
404, The Spa, Melksham, SN12 6QL
01225 708225


"Save the Train" - TransWilts Train service between the major
population centres of Wiltshire.

5th March 2007, at Well House Manor, 48 Spa Road, Melksham SN12 7NY.
19:00 (tea and coffee) for 19:30. We will meet attendees off the 19:08 train at Melksham, and ensure that everyone gets home afterwards.

Draft Agenda:

1. Welcome

2. Where are we now?

3. How can we get an appropriate service returned?
(If we get good news later this month, we may be able to skip)

4. Community support to build, sell and retain the new service.
What do we need to do?

5. Action plan - who, how, mechanisms.

6. Conclusion

It is anticipated that the meeting will close at around 21:30.


This is a special meeting organised by "Save the Train". We have been campaiging for an appropriate train service for West Wiltshire to Swindon, and from Swindon and Chippenham to Trowbridge, Warminster and Salisbury, for 18 months.

A petition to the Prime Minister, which has just closed, drew nearly 1700 signatures including 8 Members of Parliament, 5 MEPs and many councillors, and became the top domestic public transport petition on the PM's web site (8th out of over 400 on transportation and infrasturcture). That's very respectable for a locally based petiton with no formal organisation that ran for just three weeks.

The petition and the wider campaign has received good press exposure - a half page in the Sunday Express, a shorter piece in the Daily Telegraph, and an article in the Metro which actually reprinted the current minimalist timetable. An item on HTV West showed just how poor by comparison the bus alternative is from Melksham to Swindon, with me taking well over an hour to make a journey that would have taken less than 30 minutes by train, and pieces on "You and Yours" and "Westminster Hour" on Radio 4 should be noted. And those appearances are in addition to enormous local support from newspapers and radio stations in the area.

At Westminster, Ann Snelgrove, James Gray, Michael Ancram and Andrew Murrison - that's all the MPs for the Swindon - Westbury section - stood up and spoke in favour of an appropriate service during a debate, and Robert Key and Sandra Gidley, MPs for the extension to Salisbury and on to Romsey, have also signed up.

We have received overwhelming encouragement from other organisations at a local and regional level, and we now hear reports of much more serious discussions involving the Department for Transport and the First Group amongst others. Communications from both organisations within the last few days indicate a door that is pushed far more open to our proposals that at any time previously, with serious attention being given to both the financing and the timetabling of the new service. And these are THE two key players.


Who are "Save the Train"?

An Internet / Web Site based group who use (or used) the TransWilts train service, or would use it if appropriate services were provided. Formed in August 2005 by Graham Ellis as a result of seeing the threat to the service that he used in a letter in the local Newspaper, the web site and campaign has grown from strength to strength.

Main site:
We also run:

Graham's own site:
Business site (training courses):
Business site (hotel):

We work well with other local groups such as the West Wilts Rail User group and the Melksham Rail Developemnt Group, and we are members of TravelWatch South West (formerly SWPTUF) and Railfocus. And although we're very much an active and campaigning group, our whole philosophy is to work with the service providers for the benefit of both passengers and operators.

Graham Ellis
Well House Consultants, 404 The Spa, Melksham, Wilts
+44 (0) 1225 708225 (phone) +44 (0) 1225 707126 (fax)

Written 2007-02-12 06:17:06

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
Meeting, 21st - notes
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
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

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