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The story of the railway land at Melksham Station

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, Melksham Station was a thriving operation with two platforms, a reasonable service, and goods yards for general traffic, and for heavy industry such as Spencer's, near the railway. But that was a long, long time ago.

In the dark days of Dr Beeching, the station was closed and just a single track remained through, with a weekly passenger train and a bit of freight; the general traffic went, then all the heavy industry dedicated traffic. British Railways demolished the station. They sold off all of the land that they no longer used to the North West. They even sold off half of the remaining platform ... but they did retain a short piece of the platform, old good sheds to the South East, the approach road itself, and the land to the East of the approach road, which they let out to various companies.

A limited train service returned in 1985, using the short remaining piece of platform and the approach road still owned by BR. However, when BR was privatized the land outside the station's current limits - the approach road, the old goods sheds and the surrounding area - were transferred to the "BRB Residuary Body" which was set up with the task, basically, of working itself out of a job by getting rid of land that had once been used for railway purposes but wasn't any longer.

Over the past four of five years, BRB Residuary has given notice on several occasions that they're going to put up the land for auction, with a view to selling it for development. The only protection for station access looked like it would be just a right of way - i.e. footpath - and not motor vehicle access. That would certainly have scuppered any future plans for taxis, buses, or parking at the station (which, come on, a station with a fit-for-purpose service for a growing town currently of 22000 people needs), and would also have eliminated any possibility of continuing the cul-de-sac to the station through to Spencer's Gate, where a roundabout already has an outlet pointing to the station. The big benefit of this extra section would be to put the station on a road that buses and taxis could go THROUGH on their natural journeys - providing a good road-rail interchange. The extra road section would also open up easy access to Melksham Station from the Spencer Gate ("Foundry Close") development, Leekes and other stores in the area, North Melksham, and by footpath over the river to Melksham Forest. This extra road section is specifically 'reserved' in the county's plans, and the station / service is fully supported by them in the current local transport plan.

The train service itself - 5 trains each way daily - was cut back by First as part of their current franchise in 2006 at the behest of the Department for Transport, and we now have just two trains a day. It was regarded in "Marsham Street" - the DfT in London - as something of a basket case, and I was told by unofficial sources that "if you can win an improvement for this service, you can win it for any service." Hmmm - how times have changed in 3 years. The service remains dire (though we did get back a southbound Sunday service), but we've now got the best BCR (Benefit to Cost ratio) of any line that's looking at improvement in the South West.

So - coming up to date, we have ... a rail service that fully justifies improvement and a body looking to sell off the very land that would be needed as it's improved. Watch the local papers this week ... I think you'll find some excellent news in the next chapter. Not the end of any story, but certainly a superb step forward.

Story Continues .... [here]

(written 2009-11-24, updated 2009-12-09)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z501 - Public Transport - Rail
  [4306] Four time target - good news. Four time prediction - poor forecasting. - (2014-09-26)
  [4289] It may be cheaper to buy in bulk - (2014-07-15)
  [4276] Swindon to Weymouth - by train, the traditional way - 2014 - (2014-05-12)
  [4269] Survey - Journeys - (2014-04-28)
  [4268] Metrics - historic and current TransWilts train use - (2014-04-27)
  [4267] How effective is our publicity? - (2014-04-26)
  [4263] Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge, public transport over Easter (2014) - (2014-04-12)
  [4256] Train fare look expensive? There may be a cheaper option - (2014-04-02)
  [4253] Easter Weeks - Melksham to Weymouth - (2014-04-02)
  [4252] Staveton Halt, former station between Trowbridge and Melksham - (2014-03-25)
  [4251] Broughton Gifford Halt, TransWilts Railway Line - (2014-03-24)
  [4250] Lacock Halt - former TransWilts Station - (2014-03-23)
  [4238] A Question series posed to Melksham Tourist information - (2014-01-19)
  [4226] Saturday train to Swindon - two weeks in - (2013-12-21)
  [4224] TransWilts - first day pictures - (2013-12-18)
  [4219] TransWilts train services - up from 2 to 8 per day - (2013-12-09)
  [4218] A THANK YOU to those who have brought the new train service to fruition - (2013-12-06)
  [4217] New train service - launch plans and timetable links - (2013-12-03)
  [4216] Los Angeles - post modern transport system - (2013-11-27)
  [4202] Excellent Railfuture conference, but some setup lessons - (2013-11-03)
  [4199] Draft Westbury - Melksham - Swindon train times, from December 2014 - (2013-10-24)
  [4196] Official - Trowbridge and Melksham to London train improvements - (2013-10-22)
  [4195] Booking for Santa, Melksham Railway Development Group, 8th December 2013 - (2013-10-21)
  [4194] TransWilts Link - meeting notes from 19th October - (2013-10-20)
  [4191] Getting people to and from Melksham Station - not 20 but 700 times a day - (2013-10-12)
  [4190] A radical proposal - a cheap and effective way to provide home to city commuter transport - (2013-10-11)
  [4185] TransWilts Trains - running a successful campaign talk - (2013-10-05)
  [4176] International and off island travel from Melksham - (2013-09-16)
  [4173] Train and Rail Travel - who runs it and where do I ask questions? - (2013-09-13)
  [4163] TransWilts Community Rail Partnership - formally constituted - (2013-09-01)
  [4160] Bank Holiday Monday - pictures of a great train trip to Weymouth - (2013-08-27)
  [4159] People WILL walk to the station in Melksham, but they need a path and trains - (2013-08-25)
  [4154] August Bank Holiday - day out from Melksham to London or Weymouth - (2013-08-20)
  [4150] Melksham Regular Public Transport Map - as at August 2013 - (2013-08-09)
  [4148] Special General Meeting, Adoption of Constitution for TransWilts Community Rail Partnership - (2013-08-01)
  [4146] A few more trains means a LOT more passengers. Why? - (2013-07-30)
  [4142] Passenger survey at Chippenham - report and pictures - (2013-07-24)
  [4131] West Coast (of Wales) - railway and stations in pictures - (2013-07-04)
  [4113] Wiltshire and Melksham Transport - what is going on? - (2013-06-09)
  [4110] TransWilts meeting ... - (2013-06-07)
  [4105] Our day trip by train from Swindon, Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - (2013-05-28)
  [4104] Weymouth vis the TransWilts - the day out today - (2013-05-27)
  [4080] Fancy a day at the seaside? Weymouth from Melksham - (2013-05-06)
  [4040] Report on the last year - Melksham Railway Developement Group for Melksham Without Parish Council - (2013-03-11)
  [4022] A request for all of Melksham transport groups to work integrated - (2013-03-01)
  [3995] Onward from Brussels - (2013-02-04)
  [3994] On board Eurostar - a running commentary - (2013-02-04)
  [3993] Two trains a day ... how many fares to London? Guess! - (2013-02-04)
  [3986] Rail services in Wiltshire - up in the air? We need to say what is best required. - (2013-01-20)
  [3942] Santa Trip - Melksham Railway Development Group, 2012 - (2012-12-03)
  [3938] A long overdue meeting - a steeping stone towards coordinate transport user inputs - (2012-12-02)
  [3937] Agenda for Wiltshire Link Travel groups meeting, Saturday 1st December 2012 - (2012-11-27)
  [3923] 35 minutes is only a slight delay on our railway service - (2012-11-15)
  [3904] Want to help us improve transport in Wiltshire? Here is how! - (2012-10-26)
  [3899] Father Christmas to be on train in Melksham - (2012-10-19)
  [3893] Public Transport across Wiltshire - a new map - (2012-10-13)
  [3890] Here comes Santa - on the train from Melksham to Swindon on 2nd December 2012 - (2012-10-13)
  [3882] Community Transport - Pewsey, Taunton, and the whole picture too - (2012-10-06)
  [3881] Wiltshire Public Transport User Group co-ordination - (2012-10-05)
  [3879] Mixed mode travel - Information systems - (2012-10-03)
  [3873] Henbury loop, Bristol - a freight railway line with passenger potential? - (2012-09-29)
  [3872] Trains across Wiltshire - an update on the TransWilts - (2012-09-28)
  [3860] Melksham to Steam in Swindon, by train - great day out - (2012-09-16)
  [3826] TransWilts trains - what the next franchise period will bring - (2012-08-04)
  [3815] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 2, TransWilts Rail, Wilts and Berks Canal - (2012-07-23)
  [3804] Scenes from commuting by train - (2012-07-14)
  [3802] What a difference a year makes - (2012-07-10)
  [3795] Like a bathroom company with no plumbers - (2012-07-04)
  [3793] Excellent Rail News - what it really means - (2012-07-01)
  [3786] Improving Wiltshire Rail Offer - it WILL be happening - (2012-06-28)
  [3784] Steam train calls at Melksham - Pictures - (2012-06-26)
  [3765] Christmas in June? Melksham hotel bookings and Santa train - (2012-06-15)
  [3761] Melksham - placed 2254 out of 2255. What can be done about it? - (2012-06-11)
  [3736] Abstraction - (2012-05-19)
  [3728] The future needs for rail services to Melksham - change needed; current service an insult - (2012-05-11)
  [3699] Bristol 50? Bristol 25? - (2012-04-17)
  [3671] Future train services in Wiltshire - please write in to support a better service - (2012-03-24)
  [3668] Kings Cross - new concourse - between Python in Cambridge and Objective C in London - (2012-03-22)
  [3642] Wiltshire Travel Times - Chippenham, Trowbridge, Salisbury and other places too - (2012-03-07)
  [3631] Getting around Dublin by public transport - some observations - (2012-03-01)
  [3626] There is so much to see travelling by train - (2012-02-26)
  [3601] Rail Travel - has it become more unreliable? - (2012-02-02)
  [3579] Transport in Cambridgeshire - seen by an outside observer. What can Wiltshire learn? - (2012-01-15)
  [3565] What would an appropriate train service on the TransWilts line mean - (2011-12-31)
  [3564] I wish I was not a special case - (2011-12-29)
  [3550] Provide a useable train service, and people will use it! - (2011-12-11)
  [3538] Santa Train - another successful trip - 4th December 2011 - (2011-12-04)
  [3501] Santa Claus - on the train from Melksham on 4th December 2011 - (2011-10-30)
  [3493] West Wilts Rail User Group - Walk yesterday from Bradford-on-Avon to Trowbridge - (2011-10-23)
  [3487] Public transport - road and rail - (2011-10-19)
  [3486] How important is public transport to people in the Melksham area? - (2011-10-19)
  [3452] Which or ATOC - who reads train fares right? - (2011-09-22)
  [3434] Sundays - and over eating - (2011-09-11)
  [3410] A review of the Summer Sunday extra trains on the TransWilts line - (2011-08-29)
  [3408] Journey home by public transport for a Bank Holiday - (2011-08-27)
  [3403] Last chance this summer - Swindon and North Wiltshire to Weymouth by through train - (2011-08-22)
  [3392] What costs 8.20 from Melksham, or 22.30 via Chippenham? - (2011-08-14)
  [3378] New product - ensuring that supply matches demand - (2011-08-03)
  [3371] From Wiltshire to Weymouth on Sundays - (2011-07-27)
  [3370] Standing Challenge - (2011-07-26)
  [3364] Dogs Legs on the Dogleg - (2011-07-20)
  [3362] Swindon, Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - Sunday Train Service Starts - (2011-07-19)
  [3336] Efficient travel - from Melsksham to Edinburgh by Sleeper Train - (2011-06-26)
  [3331] Comparing Alloa and Melksham - stations and services - (2011-06-23)
  [3328] Summer Sundays - days out by train from Swindon on the TransWilts - (2011-06-18)
  [3318] Summer Sunday Trains - outings from Swindon, Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury - (2011-06-05)
  [3274] Small scale improvement - big scale gain. And they CAN be done with local knowledge - (2011-05-02)
  [3273] Wanted - a look to the future - (2011-05-02)
  [3198] TransWilts rail - coming together, wanted and needed - (2011-03-10)
  [3187] Past and Present - Melksham Station - (2011-02-27)
  [3178] The cost of roadworks on the economy of our town - 1800 pounds per hour? - (2011-02-20)
  [3176] Comparing German, Dutch and British Railways - (2011-02-19)
  [3171] Train and boat journey - the passenger accommodation - (2011-02-15)
  [3167] Can I take my dog by train? And other questions - (2011-02-12)
  [3161] TransWilts rail - what picture represents us - (2011-02-08)
  [3141] Wiltshire Rail services - a golden opportunity - (2011-01-21)
  [3135] A time to be brave? We should ask for what is best for our area. - (2011-01-16)
  [3119] TransWilts - some things to see and do - (2011-01-03)
  [3114] Transwilts Link - both Wiltshire and beyond - (2010-12-30)
  [3113] Trowbridge and Melksham to Chippenham - more roadworks, even slower journey over the winter - (2010-12-30)
  [3111] TransWilts Link - Days out from Swindon to Weymouth? - (2010-12-28)
  [3080] Santa Special - rather more special than usual - December 2010 - (2010-12-07)
  [3079] TransWilts Rail News ... Melksham (Santa Special) Edition ... 5th December 2010 - (2010-12-04)
  [3033] Rail services back to Radstock? - (2010-11-07)
  [3031] Get all your ducks in a row ... and they may turn into swans - (2010-11-06)
  [3017] Seventh day traveller on the six day railway - (2010-10-27)
  [3006] Santa announcement, 5th December 2010, Melksham - (2010-10-20)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2955] Melksham Railway Station - new information point - (2010-09-13)
  [2954] Railway meetings, trips and meetups this autumn - (2010-09-12)
  [2931] Syncronise - software, trains, and buses. Please! - (2010-08-22)
  [2930] Walk - Tilehurst to Pangborne - (2010-08-21)
  [2919] London to Calne, Corsham, Melksham, Bradford-on-Avon, Chippenham by public Transport - (2010-08-13)
  [2908] How Green is my train? - (2010-08-07)
  [2901] Ambassador or Anorak? - (2010-08-03)
  [2855] Train Services - Melksham to Bath and Bristol (and airport) - (2010-07-05)
  [2808] From home to Nurnberg - journey pictures - (2010-06-13)
  [2696] Garlic bread without garlic - (2010-03-27)
  [2678] Reaching out to the community - a good case for support - (2010-03-15)
  [2664] Oliver Cromwell at Bristol Temple Meads - (2010-03-06)
  [2662] Is Melksham public transport actually used? - (2010-03-05)
  [2658] Save the Train - a significant change in approach - (2010-03-03)
  [2634] London to and from Melksham by public transport - (2010-02-13)
  [2627] Saturdays out from Melksham - to Oxford, to Didcot or to Swindon - (2010-02-07)
  [2626] On Malachite Green - (2010-02-06)
  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
  [2557] Rail Campaign - response to core consultation - (2009-12-31)
  [2556] Railway Station Survey - please complete today or tomorrow - (2009-12-30)
  [2533] Five guests, three groups, one car - (2009-12-11)
  [2529] Santa Special, 2009 - (2009-12-06)
  [2522] Integrated public Transport - what could be done for Melksham - (2009-12-01)
  [2513] Wiltshire Council purchases Melksham Station Land - (2009-11-26)
  [2486] Santa Special - Trowbridge and Melksham to Swindon - (2009-10-31)
  [2477] By train ... - (2009-10-25)
  [2473] Exploring Old Railways - (2009-10-24)
  [2457] Railway Arithmetic - (2009-10-16)
  [2438] Listening to The Minister - (2009-10-05)
  [2395] From Lymington by train - last of the slammers - (2009-09-05)
  [2391] Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy - Draft for Consultation - (2009-09-02)
  [2372] Public Transport from (and to) Melksham on Sundays - (2009-08-23)
  [2328] Melksham - no trains, no southbound buses through the town - (2009-08-08)
  [2318] For Lua Programmers AND for Town Planners - (2009-08-02)
  [2268] Westbury Bypass Refused - looking forward - (2009-07-04)
  [2133] Bigger and better this year! - (2009-04-20)
  [2057] Train and Coach fares from London (and airports) to Melksham - (2009-02-26)
  [2042] Wiltshire Rail Service Update - (2009-02-15)
  [2026] Melksham Climate Friendly Group - (2009-02-05)
  [2024] Carry on Training - in spite of the weather - (2009-02-03)
  [1999] How low can you sink? - (2009-01-17)
  [1966] Background to the TransWilts Train Fiasco - (2008-12-29)
  [1965] How much does a train service actually cost - (2008-12-29)
  [1964] Why hasnt the fiasco been put right - (2008-12-29)
  [1905] A Gold Star for First Great Western Customer Service - (2008-11-24)
  [1858] Camera with night vision, youth with no vision - (2008-10-28)
  [1848] 30th November - Santa Trip from Melksham - (2008-10-19)
  [1757] Preserved railways - struggling to the future? - (2008-08-17)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1708] A Train Service Update for Melksham Party in the Park - (2008-07-13)
  [1616] Not daring to be an anorak - (2008-04-19)
  [1567] Melksham - Swindon. Train v Bus v Car - (2008-03-07)
  [1558] Getting somewhere with the train service - (2008-02-28)
  [1530] Railway Acronyms and Abbreviations - (2008-02-03)
  [1452] Santa on the train to Melksham - (2007-12-01)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1424] Closer than you think - the next step - (2007-11-08)
  [1382] First Great Western - information for customers - (2007-10-07)
  [1358] Look forward with a new broom - Wiltshire Train Service - (2007-09-19)
  [1314] Business travel by train in the USA - (2007-08-22)
  [1303] Heading Upstate New York - (2007-08-14)
  [1291] Day trip to Weymouth - (2007-08-05)
  [1274] Radio coverage for railway issues - (2007-07-23)
  [1273] Melksham or Weymouth? Meal or day out? - (2007-07-23)
  [1228] Some progress on the train campaign - (2007-06-10)
  [1139] Overcrowded trains around Bristol - (2007-04-08)
  [1097] Train and business balls all in the air! - (2007-03-02)
  [1093] Wiltshire Train - can YOU come on 5th March? - (2007-02-25)
  [1076] Save the Train - an update - (2007-02-12)
  [1069] Rail trouble forced me to buy hotel - (2007-02-07)
  [1063] Bradford-on-Avon - 150 years of passenger trains - (2007-02-03)
  [1045] Bang! Train campaign hits home - (2007-01-19)
  [1044] Call for appropriate train services - Swindon, Bristol, Bath, West Wilts, Severn Beach etc - (2007-01-18)
  [1033] Empty at Easleigh, Missing at Melksham, Overflowing at Oldfield - (2007-01-14)
  [976] Santa at the station - (2006-12-09)
  [974] The last commuter train through Melksham - (2006-12-09)
  [952] Coming from London to Melksham by train for a course - (2006-11-28)
  [877] Yes, but what do we do now?? - (2006-09-24)
  [814] Melksham Railway Calendar 2007 - (2006-07-25)
  [803] Not shouting - (2006-07-16)
  [790] Shadow Transport Minister to visit Melksham - (2006-07-02)
  [697] For any North and West Wilts and Swindon Readers - (2006-04-23)
  [688] Are you free on Friday evening? - (2006-04-18)
  [648] West Wilts Railway Users Group and trains to Lacock - (2006-03-16)
  [634] Real chance to make a difference - (2006-03-05)
  [632] Moral dilemma - (2006-03-04)
  [527] Greater Western Franchise Awarded - (2005-12-13)
  [524] Santa comes to Melksham - (2005-12-11)
  [521] Proof needed? Please just use common sense! - (2005-12-08)
  [488] Looking for railway groups and users - Swindon, Salisbury, Southampton - (2005-11-06)
  [486] Rail services under threat - Swindon, Melksham ... and Newquay and Bicester too - (2005-11-05)
  [447] Tomorrow's meeting. - (2005-09-19)
  [434] Through public transport connection, Chippenham to Salisbury, to cease - (2005-09-02)
  [428] Swindon - Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Westbury train service - (2005-08-29)
  [154] Railway train service, Melksham station - (2004-12-17)


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Kim of the Castle
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