TransWilts train service - over 100 journeys every week
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Provide a useable train service, and people will use it!

Yesterday, I went down to Melksham station to pick up a delegate arriving from Ely off the 15:48 (that's our first train southbound on a Saturday - the second and final one is at 21:34).

A little surprised to see that there were only two spaces unoccupied at the station car park, that the disable space was occupied, and that a taxi was waiting too. I confess to wondering which of the motoring businesses around was using it as a convenient place to leave cars over the weekend.

Arriving - 3 car 150/1 at MelkshamAh - here comes the train. Good to see this new type (150/1 for the Anoraks) that have appeared over the last six months. But there's still need for more; there should be 10 trains each way per day, not just two.


LeavingIt's very interesting to see the "Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership" advert on the side of the train. Cynics may laugh and say that it's way out of its area, but I'm delighted ... for it makes for excellent advertising for lines that are not competing with ours (none do) - but that help to make a complete network of journey options.


Dropping passengersFifteen people off the train - the most that I've seen getting off a Saturday train since the summer of 2006, when we had 4 trains each way on Saturdays and the service gave good day trip opportunities.


Provide a service that's even half usable, let people know about it, and people will use it! I have to admit to an error of judgment when I first saw the car park, for all of the cars at the station were there on railway business ;-) !

There are so many really small things that could be done:

* Advertise it better - e.g. have a "TransWilts" unit running around
* Provide "PlusBus" ticketing to and from Melksham
* Add the 05:19 Gloucester to Southampton and the 07:04 Westbury to Swindon services to the list of early services that can be used on Freedom / Rover / Ranger tickets, at least until the timetable's improved
* Fix the information screen. It's been showing this message for weeks now ...

Help point under testExcept last weekend - when it was telling us that no train was due for 4 hours in the lead up to the arrival of the Santa train. There's a laminated sign above that says the system's under test, but for how long for goodness sake?


Slightly larger things

* Run trains beyond Westbury, or at least make good connections. I Note that yesterday afternoon's train to Swindon started back at Castle Cary (wasn't Glastonbury weekend, was it?) and that the down train said it was going to Frome. Ideally, the through trains would be on to / from Dilton Marsh, Warminster and Salisbury

And slightly larger again.

* Run an appropriate service for the flows on the travel corridor that the line serves. i.e. about hourly in the peaks, and at least once every 2 hours off peak.

You'll note I say slightly larger. Really, a proper service shouldn't be a big deal. The shortfall in income compared to expenditure in the first two years is just one hundredth of the amount of money just announced for the strengthened FGW services to the end of the franchise on 31st March 2013. And in the following three years (on pessimistic assumptions) that money will be recouped.

I should point out here that - although my example is Melksham and Melksham's traffic, TransWilts services are also used by many others when they run at appropriate times. There are major flows between Westbury / Trowbridge and Chippenham / Swindon, and also between Chippenham / Swindon and Warminster / Salisbury. The train pictured above left Melksham headed for Trownbridge and Westbury with about 30 people still on board ...
(written 2011-12-11, updated 2011-12-17)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z501 - Public Transport - Rail
  [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)
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  [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)
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  [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)
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  [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)
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  [3793] Excellent Rail News - what it really means - (2012-07-01)
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  [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)
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  [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)
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  [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)
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  [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)
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  [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)
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  [3017] Seventh day traveller on the six day railway - (2010-10-27)
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  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
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  [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)
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  [2696] Garlic bread without garlic - (2010-03-27)
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  [2664] Oliver Cromwell at Bristol Temple Meads - (2010-03-06)
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  [2658] Save the Train - a significant change in approach - (2010-03-03)
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  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
  [2557] Rail Campaign - response to core consultation - (2009-12-31)
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  [2477] By train ... - (2009-10-25)
  [2473] Exploring Old Railways - (2009-10-24)
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  [2042] Wiltshire Rail Service Update - (2009-02-15)
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  [2024] Carry on Training - in spite of the weather - (2009-02-03)
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  [1966] Background to the TransWilts Train Fiasco - (2008-12-29)
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  [1848] 30th November - Santa Trip from Melksham - (2008-10-19)
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  [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)
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  [1063] Bradford-on-Avon - 150 years of passenger trains - (2007-02-03)
  [1045] Bang! Train campaign hits home - (2007-01-19)
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  [877] Yes, but what do we do now?? - (2006-09-24)
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  [154] Railway train service, Melksham station - (2004-12-17)


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