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Bank Holiday Monday - pictures of a great train trip to Weymouth

Bank Holiday Monday in Melksham and we woke to an overcast (almost threatening) sky... and I wondered how many people would be joining me on the train (change at Westbury) to Melksham. Publicity has been purely through the 'flyer' printer for us by First Great Western and distributed in the Melksham local paper - and that as no more than a bullet point on the front of a trifold, and a few lines with times and prices inside. The main purpose of the flyer was / is to say "yes, we have a train in Melksham", to provide them with the times, and to get them to start taking opportunities for shopping trips every Saturday to Swindon.

So how many showed up?



We had around a hundred people on that little 2 coach train as it left Melksham headed for Trowbridge, and I felt that was just about right - part of me wanted to have a seething crowd, but knowing that the connecting train at Westbury was likely to be quite busy, and that the evening train would also have the normal flows for a Bank Holiday Monday on it, I knew that to have pressed the marketing further - which we could easily have done - would have been irresponsible, and that point would have been noted by our friends and supporters at First and at Wiltshire Council, and written about in the local press, over and above the clearly suppressed need it would have emphasised.

I reckon this is just about right for a couple of hours on the train out of rush hour:



Weymouth beach was busy - gloriously sunny by this point, and it's still very much the traditional seaside; one of the few remaining Punch and Judy shows entertained us with all the old jokes - which remain the best - such as Mr Punch sitting on the baby and describing it as "Babysitting".



And what better for those of us who were actually quite tired from helping many newcomers to rail (such as the old boy who "last caught a train when I was demobbed from RAF Melksham" - which closed almost 50 years ago), and parents with children on a train for the first time ever, than an open topped bus ride



I find Portland a fascinating island... Dad and I got off that bus and spent a couple of hours there, walking in the rugged limestone wilderness from which building blocks have been exported the world over, seeing the magnificent lighthouse, enjoying an ice cream...



... and watching families playing on the soft safe grassy cliff top fields, and watching harder (perhaps foolhardy) youths jumping off the cliffs into the swirling seas below that were lapping up against the rocks with a soothing and sleep inducing rhythm.



And so back to Weymouth. We took in the view of the magnificent Chesil Beach on the way back on the bus...



... and marvelled at how much this seaside resort has to offer. We had missed... the harbour, the tower, Lodesmore park, the Beach, Notte Fort, the nature reserve, the shopping, the funfairs, and many more things. And we look forward to having further opportunities to make this trip.




But this article is writeup of the day out and so to the trip home. Crowds gathered at the Station for the 17:30 departure, and indeed part of the train was there when we arrived, but the extra two carriages were on a late incoming service and didn't arrive until after the train was due to depart.



There were announcements, but for newcomers to this world of rail travel the personal touch of having someone they had seen on the way down to reassure them that the train would be longer and, "yes, this is the right platform and part of the train" seemed welcome. Even when extended to 4 carriages, the train was busy but I only heard one or two grumbles - and there were a lot of bouquets to say "Thank you" which I must pass on to my management contacts at First. And a big THANK YOU to the Conductors of all four trains we were on - lovely people, professional in their approach in looking after rather a lot of people as well as the operation and safety of the train.

We left Weymouth nearly 20 minutes late, which was a bit of a concern as we only had 13 minutes to change at Westbury onto the TransWilts train for Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon. We stopped (as always seems to happen when running late) at all three request stops - Chetnole, Yetminster and Thornford, and the pulled into Castle Cary too late to leave in front of the London Express as we should have done - so that was a few more minutes delay. The Conductor, alerted to the fact that he had about 100 people on board for the TransWilts connection and that the majority of them were for Melksham, with the following train after the 19:32 on Monday being at 06:46 on Tuesday, made a couple of phone calls and had the connection held for us, in contrast to normal practise. The train change at Westbury worked like clockwork - straight across the platform, and within 3 minutes we were off on the local service. I just had time to say "thank you" to the previous conductor, and we left his delayed train, alas, being even further delayed, as we were given priority.

And so a happy homeward run - only where there's a good connection in the morning offering days out is the 19:32 carrying anything like a good load of passengers and they're happy passengers too, though tired after a long day of sun sea and fun.


 


Passengers left the train at Melksham through a single door - so no big group photo on the platform. Just lots of smiling faces. "Please let us know when we can do this again". "Are there any more trips like this planned". "Thank you for a great day" - that comment a bit misdirected, as really it was the railway and the people who work the railway who should be thanked. I know they're paid for it, but they do the job cheerfully and helpfully, even at times when they are thrown stressful or challenging circumstances, and perhaps they too would like to have been able to join us on the beach.






As a footnote, the people who came on this trip were different people to those who came in May - and I'm cheered by that; we tried a different publicity medium, and reached another fresh market. There are common factors though - once again, people feeling that they were very lucky to have heard about the trip at all, and suggesting ways we could market the product more thoroughly. I welcomed those suggestions - and indeed if we see a substantially repeating opportunity coming up (watch this space ;-) ) then it will be a case of following up lots of those suggestions. But for the moment, I simply have to agree with the people making the suggestions, and gently point out that had we promoted the day further, we wouldn't have given pleasure to all, but disappointed a whole lot of people at Melksham where they couldn't have fitted on the train, or Westbury where they may have been stranded.

Lots of interest in the Santa trip, provisionally set for 8th December. I must have a word with Santa and see if we can get some more presents - not only gifts for the children, but train services for that day so that he can see as many people as possible.
(written 2013-08-27, updated 2013-08-31)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z501 - Public Transport - Rail
  [154] Railway train service, Melksham station - (2004-12-17)
  [428] Swindon - Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Westbury train service - (2005-08-29)
  [434] Through public transport connection, Chippenham to Salisbury, to cease - (2005-09-02)
  [447] Tomorrow's meeting. - (2005-09-19)
  [486] Rail services under threat - Swindon, Melksham ... and Newquay and Bicester too - (2005-11-05)
  [488] Looking for railway groups and users - Swindon, Salisbury, Southampton - (2005-11-06)
  [521] Proof needed? Please just use common sense! - (2005-12-08)
  [524] Santa comes to Melksham - (2005-12-11)
  [527] Greater Western Franchise Awarded - (2005-12-13)
  [632] Moral dilemma - (2006-03-04)
  [634] Real chance to make a difference - (2006-03-05)
  [648] West Wilts Railway Users Group and trains to Lacock - (2006-03-16)
  [688] Are you free on Friday evening? - (2006-04-18)
  [697] For any North and West Wilts and Swindon Readers - (2006-04-23)
  [790] Shadow Transport Minister to visit Melksham - (2006-07-02)
  [803] Not shouting - (2006-07-16)
  [814] Melksham Railway Calendar 2007 - (2006-07-25)
  [877] Yes, but what do we do now?? - (2006-09-24)
  [952] Coming from London to Melksham by train for a course - (2006-11-28)
  [974] The last commuter train through Melksham - (2006-12-09)
  [976] Santa at the station - (2006-12-09)
  [1033] Empty at Easleigh, Missing at Melksham, Overflowing at Oldfield - (2007-01-14)
  [1044] Call for appropriate train services - Swindon, Bristol, Bath, West Wilts, Severn Beach etc - (2007-01-18)
  [1045] Bang! Train campaign hits home - (2007-01-19)
  [1063] Bradford-on-Avon - 150 years of passenger trains - (2007-02-03)
  [1069] Rail trouble forced me to buy hotel - (2007-02-07)
  [1076] Save the Train - an update - (2007-02-12)
  [1093] Wiltshire Train - can YOU come on 5th March? - (2007-02-25)
  [1097] Train and business balls all in the air! - (2007-03-02)
  [1139] Overcrowded trains around Bristol - (2007-04-08)
  [1228] Some progress on the train campaign - (2007-06-10)
  [1273] Melksham or Weymouth? Meal or day out? - (2007-07-23)
  [1274] Radio coverage for railway issues - (2007-07-23)
  [1291] Day trip to Weymouth - (2007-08-05)
  [1303] Heading Upstate New York - (2007-08-14)
  [1314] Business travel by train in the USA - (2007-08-22)
  [1358] Look forward with a new broom - Wiltshire Train Service - (2007-09-19)
  [1382] First Great Western - information for customers - (2007-10-07)
  [1424] Closer than you think - the next step - (2007-11-08)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1452] Santa on the train to Melksham - (2007-12-01)
  [1530] Railway Acronyms and Abbreviations - (2008-02-03)
  [1558] Getting somewhere with the train service - (2008-02-28)
  [1567] Melksham - Swindon. Train v Bus v Car - (2008-03-07)
  [1616] Not daring to be an anorak - (2008-04-19)
  [1708] A Train Service Update for Melksham Party in the Park - (2008-07-13)
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  [1966] Background to the TransWilts Train Fiasco - (2008-12-29)
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  [2024] Carry on Training - in spite of the weather - (2009-02-03)
  [2026] Melksham Climate Friendly Group - (2009-02-05)
  [2042] Wiltshire Rail Service Update - (2009-02-15)
  [2057] Train and Coach fares from London (and airports) to Melksham - (2009-02-26)
  [2133] Bigger and better this year! - (2009-04-20)
  [2268] Westbury Bypass Refused - looking forward - (2009-07-04)
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  [2391] Great Western Route Utilisation Strategy - Draft for Consultation - (2009-09-02)
  [2395] From Lymington by train - last of the slammers - (2009-09-05)
  [2438] Listening to The Minister - (2009-10-05)
  [2457] Railway Arithmetic - (2009-10-16)
  [2473] Exploring Old Railways - (2009-10-24)
  [2477] By train ... - (2009-10-25)
  [2486] Santa Special - Trowbridge and Melksham to Swindon - (2009-10-31)
  [2511] The story of the railway land at Melksham Station - (2009-11-24)
  [2513] Wiltshire Council purchases Melksham Station Land - (2009-11-26)
  [2522] Integrated public Transport - what could be done for Melksham - (2009-12-01)
  [2529] Santa Special, 2009 - (2009-12-06)
  [2533] Five guests, three groups, one car - (2009-12-11)
  [2556] Railway Station Survey - please complete today or tomorrow - (2009-12-30)
  [2557] Rail Campaign - response to core consultation - (2009-12-31)
  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
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  [3079] TransWilts Rail News ... Melksham (Santa Special) Edition ... 5th December 2010 - (2010-12-04)
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  [3114] Transwilts Link - both Wiltshire and beyond - (2010-12-30)
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  [3176] Comparing German, Dutch and British Railways - (2011-02-19)
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  [3187] Past and Present - Melksham Station - (2011-02-27)
  [3198] TransWilts rail - coming together, wanted and needed - (2011-03-10)
  [3273] Wanted - a look to the future - (2011-05-02)
  [3274] Small scale improvement - big scale gain. And they CAN be done with local knowledge - (2011-05-02)
  [3318] Summer Sunday Trains - outings from Swindon, Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury - (2011-06-05)
  [3328] Summer Sundays - days out by train from Swindon on the TransWilts - (2011-06-18)
  [3331] Comparing Alloa and Melksham - stations and services - (2011-06-23)
  [3336] Efficient travel - from Melsksham to Edinburgh by Sleeper Train - (2011-06-26)
  [3362] Swindon, Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - Sunday Train Service Starts - (2011-07-19)
  [3364] Dogs Legs on the Dogleg - (2011-07-20)
  [3370] Standing Challenge - (2011-07-26)
  [3371] From Wiltshire to Weymouth on Sundays - (2011-07-27)
  [3378] New product - ensuring that supply matches demand - (2011-08-03)
  [3392] What costs 8.20 from Melksham, or 22.30 via Chippenham? - (2011-08-14)
  [3403] Last chance this summer - Swindon and North Wiltshire to Weymouth by through train - (2011-08-22)
  [3408] Journey home by public transport for a Bank Holiday - (2011-08-27)
  [3410] A review of the Summer Sunday extra trains on the TransWilts line - (2011-08-29)
  [3434] Sundays - and over eating - (2011-09-11)
  [3452] Which or ATOC - who reads train fares right? - (2011-09-22)
  [3486] How important is public transport to people in the Melksham area? - (2011-10-19)
  [3487] Public transport - road and rail - (2011-10-19)
  [3493] West Wilts Rail User Group - Walk yesterday from Bradford-on-Avon to Trowbridge - (2011-10-23)
  [3501] Santa Claus - on the train from Melksham on 4th December 2011 - (2011-10-30)
  [3538] Santa Train - another successful trip - 4th December 2011 - (2011-12-04)
  [3550] Provide a useable train service, and people will use it! - (2011-12-11)
  [3564] I wish I was not a special case - (2011-12-29)
  [3565] What would an appropriate train service on the TransWilts line mean - (2011-12-31)
  [3579] Transport in Cambridgeshire - seen by an outside observer. What can Wiltshire learn? - (2012-01-15)
  [3601] Rail Travel - has it become more unreliable? - (2012-02-02)
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  [3631] Getting around Dublin by public transport - some observations - (2012-03-01)
  [3642] Wiltshire Travel Times - Chippenham, Trowbridge, Salisbury and other places too - (2012-03-07)
  [3668] Kings Cross - new concourse - between Python in Cambridge and Objective C in London - (2012-03-22)
  [3671] Future train services in Wiltshire - please write in to support a better service - (2012-03-24)
  [3699] Bristol 50? Bristol 25? - (2012-04-17)
  [3728] The future needs for rail services to Melksham - change needed; current service an insult - (2012-05-11)
  [3736] Abstraction - (2012-05-19)
  [3761] Melksham - placed 2254 out of 2255. What can be done about it? - (2012-06-11)
  [3765] Christmas in June? Melksham hotel bookings and Santa train - (2012-06-15)
  [3784] Steam train calls at Melksham - Pictures - (2012-06-26)
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  [3793] Excellent Rail News - what it really means - (2012-07-01)
  [3795] Like a bathroom company with no plumbers - (2012-07-04)
  [3802] What a difference a year makes - (2012-07-10)
  [3804] Scenes from commuting by train - (2012-07-14)
  [3815] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 2, TransWilts Rail, Wilts and Berks Canal - (2012-07-23)
  [3826] TransWilts trains - what the next franchise period will bring - (2012-08-04)
  [3860] Melksham to Steam in Swindon, by train - great day out - (2012-09-16)
  [3872] Trains across Wiltshire - an update on the TransWilts - (2012-09-28)
  [3873] Henbury loop, Bristol - a freight railway line with passenger potential? - (2012-09-29)
  [3879] Mixed mode travel - Information systems - (2012-10-03)
  [3881] Wiltshire Public Transport User Group co-ordination - (2012-10-05)
  [3882] Community Transport - Pewsey, Taunton, and the whole picture too - (2012-10-06)
  [3890] Here comes Santa - on the train from Melksham to Swindon on 2nd December 2012 - (2012-10-13)
  [3893] Public Transport across Wiltshire - a new map - (2012-10-13)
  [3899] Father Christmas to be on train in Melksham - (2012-10-19)
  [3904] Want to help us improve transport in Wiltshire? Here is how! - (2012-10-26)
  [3923] 35 minutes is only a slight delay on our railway service - (2012-11-15)
  [3937] Agenda for Wiltshire Link Travel groups meeting, Saturday 1st December 2012 - (2012-11-27)
  [3938] A long overdue meeting - a steeping stone towards coordinate transport user inputs - (2012-12-02)
  [3942] Santa Trip - Melksham Railway Development Group, 2012 - (2012-12-03)
  [3986] Rail services in Wiltshire - up in the air? We need to say what is best required. - (2013-01-20)
  [3993] Two trains a day ... how many fares to London? Guess! - (2013-02-04)
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  [4040] Report on the last year - Melksham Railway Developement Group for Melksham Without Parish Council - (2013-03-11)
  [4080] Fancy a day at the seaside? Weymouth from Melksham - (2013-05-06)
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  [4110] TransWilts meeting ... - (2013-06-07)
  [4113] Wiltshire and Melksham Transport - what is going on? - (2013-06-09)
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  [4150] Melksham Regular Public Transport Map - as at August 2013 - (2013-08-09)
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  [4195] Booking for Santa, Melksham Railway Development Group, 8th December 2013 - (2013-10-21)
  [4196] Official - Trowbridge and Melksham to London train improvements - (2013-10-22)
  [4199] Draft Westbury - Melksham - Swindon train times, from December 2014 - (2013-10-24)
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  [4216] Los Angeles - post modern transport system - (2013-11-27)
  [4217] New train service - launch plans and timetable links - (2013-12-03)
  [4218] A THANK YOU to those who have brought the new train service to fruition - (2013-12-06)
  [4219] TransWilts train services - up from 2 to 8 per day - (2013-12-09)
  [4224] TransWilts - first day pictures - (2013-12-18)
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  [4238] A Question series posed to Melksham Tourist information - (2014-01-19)
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  [4252] Staveton Halt, former station between Trowbridge and Melksham - (2014-03-25)
  [4253] Easter Weeks - Melksham to Weymouth - (2014-04-02)
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  [4263] Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge, public transport over Easter (2014) - (2014-04-12)
  [4267] How effective is our publicity? - (2014-04-26)
  [4268] Metrics - historic and current TransWilts train use - (2014-04-27)
  [4269] Survey - Journeys - (2014-04-28)
  [4276] Swindon to Weymouth - by train, the traditional way - 2014 - (2014-05-12)
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  [4312] Officially overcrowded in the first year - (2014-11-15)
  [4342] My first official measure - Passenger Entrys and Exits - revisited 9 years later - (2014-12-05)
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  [4367] A year of rail memories! - (2014-12-27)
  [4378] What FGW passengers want to talk about / and PHP programming to find out - (2015-01-01)
  [4397] TransWilts / Press and Publicity report for AGM / 30th January 2015 - (2015-01-17)
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  [4467] Neighbourhood Plan - travel and transport thoughts - (2015-03-29)
  [4471] Leopardstown to Rosslare by train - (2015-04-23)
  [4473] Fishguard to Melksham - third part of Dublin journey - (2015-04-25)
  [4475] New car park at Melksham Station - ideal for commuters from Seend, Hilperton, Yarnbrook and Holt - (2015-04-26)
  [4478] Home in Melksham to Gatwick Airport - easy by public transport - (2015-04-29)
  [4486] Newark to New York - the PATH suburban railway - (2015-05-05)
  [4495] Swindon to Westbury train services - Saturdays from 23rd May 2015 - (2015-05-17)
  [4496] Sunday train times - 17th May to 6th September 2015 - (2015-05-17)
  [4511] The Royal Albert Bridge as you do not normally see it - (2015-07-12)
  [4512] The Weymouth Wizard - Saturdays in August from Wiltshire - (2015-07-31)
  [4515] Why has the hourly Chippenham to Trowbridge train been withdrawn? - (2015-09-24)
  [4539] TransWilts public transport corridor - (2015-10-15)
  [4578] Rail electrification - far, far too optimistic so over budget and late - (2015-11-20)
  [4596] Call for help counting passengers - TransWilts, 12th to 14th December - (2015-12-10)
  [4598] 21 places to get your train and bus timetables for TransWilts - (2015-12-19)
  [4612] TransWilts - robust these days - no longer the first service to be cancelled - (2016-01-03)
  [4623] Rambling from Westbury - (2016-01-16)
  [4636] Rail user groups worried about what is happening on the buses - (2016-01-31)
  [4640] Who was Doctor Beeching and what was his axe? - (2016-02-06)
  [4665] Chippenham to Salisbury by public transport - what we have and what we could have - (2016-03-26)
  [4677] Swindon, Chippenham and Melksham - day trips by train to Weymouth start for 2016 - (2016-05-18)
  [4684] Melksham Station - as at May 2016 - Part 1 - (2016-05-28)
  [4685] Melksham Station - as at May 2016 - Part 2 - (2016-05-29)
  [4686] Melksham Station - as at May 2016 - Part 3 - (2016-05-29)
  [4687] Melksham Station - as at May 2016 - Part 4 - (2016-05-30)
  [4688] Melksham Station - as at May 2016 - Part 5 (services and prices) - (2016-05-30)
  [4695] Melksham Rail Development Group becoming Melksham Rail Users Group - (2016-06-21)
  [4699] Melksham Rail Development Group - a celebration of 20 years - (2016-06-25)
  [4706] Melksham trial train service is to be made permanent - (2016-10-02)
  [4726] TransWilts Partner Update for Melksham Area Board - (2016-11-07)
  [4727] Learning from travelling further afield - (2016-11-09)
  [4760] Rotary Talk, 25/7/2017 - (2017-07-25)
  [4764] Some thoughts on the closure proposal for Breich station - (2017-10-11)
  [4765] Breich Station - current pictures, and future options - (2017-10-11)
  [4770] GW franchise - my response - (2018-02-20)

Z406 - TransWilts Community Rail Partnership
  [4198] New trains for 2014 - Swindon to Westbury. Meetings Melksham, Swindon, Trowbridge, Chippenham and Westbury - (2013-10-24)
  [4225] Melksham Resident? Commuter? Save yourself 2000 pounds and 100 hours in 2014, and have a better journey! - (2013-12-20)
  [4229] Thin end of the wedge - plan to be thicker in 2014 - (2013-12-26)
  [4243] Taking Greyhounds and Lurchers to London for the day - (2014-02-23)
  [4284] Talk and walk to promote train service - Melksham Carnival - (2014-07-11)
  [4287] TransWilts CRP - walking in Melksham Carnival - (2014-07-13)
  [4288] Some questions on how our Community Rail Partnership works - (2014-07-13)
  [4291] Train Online article - ACoRP / TransWilts introduction - (2014-07-25)
  [4309] Even in the dark of night, the train comes bearing passengers - (2014-09-28)
  [4313] Moving community rail support from amateur to professional - (2014-11-16)
  [4328] Folk music train, Westbury to Swindon round trip, 14th December 2014 - (2014-11-24)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4351] A little thing can make a big difference - (2014-12-13)
  [4362] What a difference a year makes - (2014-12-23)
  [4371] Why are people using the TransWilts? - (2014-12-29)
  [4424] Looking Forward - TransWilts Community Rail Partnership and TransWilts CIC - (2015-02-12)
  [4435] Images of our rail promotion campaign - (2015-02-21)
  [4463] Rail Conference, Nottingham - (2015-03-16)
  [4494] Monday to Friday / TransWilts train times from 18 May to 11th December 2015 - (2015-05-17)
  [4497] Around the world from Melksham - (2015-05-25)
  [4500] The TransWilts Community Intergrated Transport Corridor - (2015-05-29)
  [4510] Learning from the others - Community Rail - (2015-07-12)
  [4513] Yesterday, Weymouth - (2015-08-02)
  [4568] Moderation - and the tendency to over-moderate - (2015-11-02)
  [4601] Management view - TransWilts and transport at the end of 2015 - (2015-12-25)
  [4638] TransWilts Community Interest Company AGM - 13 Feb 2016, Swindon - (2016-02-05)
  [4647] On the problems of a printed train timetable - (2016-02-15)
  [4704] Three months in community rail pictures - (2016-08-27)
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)


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Some other Articles
Melksham Market - every Tuesday
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Python varables - checking existance, and call by name or by value?
Bank Holiday Monday - pictures of a great train trip to Weymouth
Wedding from Well House Manor - an excellent base in Melksham
Wedding Photos - Kim Ellis to Kyle Londors, 22nd August 2013
A further chance to see Melksham on TV
Wedding Reception preps at Well House Manor
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