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Thin end of the wedge - plan to be thicker in 2014

In the lead up to Christmas, we had the first two weeks of a 'marketable' TransWilts train service running from Swindon and Chippenham via Melksham to Trowbridge and Westbury. All our past theoretic work has suggested that the service will work operationally, has good flows of potential passengers, and will be taken to heart by the business and residential communities served to make it a success. But telling people about the service doesn't happen automatically, they need information presented in such a way that they'll see how it works for them, and for many it's going to be an experiment or two followed by changes in due course as they move from one work role or shift pattern to another, replace (or don't replace) a car, or move house. So - the first two weeks was very much the thin end of the wedge, and there's much more work to do in the New Year, in the spring and summer for leisure traffic and indeed throughout 2014.

I was agreeably surprised at how busy some of the trains were within the first week or two. On Sunday, 8th December and Monday 9th, a "blip" or excitement was only to be expected. The Sunday train I used on 15th, the Tuesday trains on 17th, and the Saturday trains on 21st were less predictable and I wouldn't have been surprised to see a marked dip - however, they were pretty busy services and the one exception - the 15:22 off Swindon last Saturday - is an 'oddball' anyway; an extra train just 45 minutes after the previous one, and three carriages long rather than one - so it 'looked' to be empty. But a count south of Chippenham revealed 17 passengers, and against a target average of 20 that's already 85% of the way there.

Right from the start, we had concluded that Christmas and New Year week figures would be inappropriate to use in trend analysis. But flooding of the line, and last minute cancellation of every service on 24th (I was at the station for one train and had to help explain to the disappointed 4 people who were looking to travel that their train was cancelled, even when the board showed it as "On time"), followed by no service on 25th (fair enough / little demand) or on 26th (the day when the public transport industry shuts down but sales and football have a peak day - providing a wonderful set of potential data for those who ask "do we need public transport at all?") have lead to very few travellers indeed so far this week. And tomorrow - an orphan Friday - is anyone's guess! The sensible thing to do is to spend these days recharging batteries, thinking ahead, and preparing for 2014.

(written 2013-12-26, updated 2013-12-27)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z406 - TransWilts Community Rail Partnership
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)
  [4726] TransWilts Partner Update for Melksham Area Board - (2016-11-07)
  [4706] Melksham trial train service is to be made permanent - (2016-10-02)
  [4704] Three months in community rail pictures - (2016-08-27)
  [4695] Melksham Rail Development Group becoming Melksham Rail Users Group - (2016-06-21)
  [4688] Melksham Station - as at May 2016 - Part 5 (services and prices) - (2016-05-30)
  [4647] On the problems of a printed train timetable - (2016-02-15)
  [4638] TransWilts Community Interest Company AGM - 13 Feb 2016, Swindon - (2016-02-05)
  [4612] TransWilts - robust these days - no longer the first service to be cancelled - (2016-01-03)
  [4601] Management view - TransWilts and transport at the end of 2015 - (2015-12-25)
  [4568] Moderation - and the tendency to over-moderate - (2015-11-02)
  [4513] Yesterday, Weymouth - (2015-08-02)
  [4512] The Weymouth Wizard - Saturdays in August from Wiltshire - (2015-07-31)
  [4510] Learning from the others - Community Rail - (2015-07-12)
  [4500] The TransWilts Community Intergrated Transport Corridor - (2015-05-29)
  [4497] Around the world from Melksham - (2015-05-25)
  [4494] Monday to Friday / TransWilts train times from 18 May to 11th December 2015 - (2015-05-17)
  [4467] Neighbourhood Plan - travel and transport thoughts - (2015-03-29)
  [4463] Rail Conference, Nottingham - (2015-03-16)
  [4435] Images of our rail promotion campaign - (2015-02-21)
  [4424] Looking Forward - TransWilts Community Rail Partnership and TransWilts CIC - (2015-02-12)
  [4397] TransWilts / Press and Publicity report for AGM / 30th January 2015 - (2015-01-17)
  [4371] Why are people using the TransWilts? - (2014-12-29)
  [4362] What a difference a year makes - (2014-12-23)
  [4353] Celebration pictures, year 1 - (2014-12-15)
  [4351] A little thing can make a big difference - (2014-12-13)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4328] Folk music train, Westbury to Swindon round trip, 14th December 2014 - (2014-11-24)
  [4313] Moving community rail support from amateur to professional - (2014-11-16)
  [4309] Even in the dark of night, the train comes bearing passengers - (2014-09-28)
  [4291] Train Online article - ACoRP / TransWilts introduction - (2014-07-25)
  [4288] Some questions on how our Community Rail Partnership works - (2014-07-13)
  [4287] TransWilts CRP - walking in Melksham Carnival - (2014-07-13)
  [4284] Talk and walk to promote train service - Melksham Carnival - (2014-07-11)
  [4243] Taking Greyhounds and Lurchers to London for the day - (2014-02-23)
  [4225] Melksham Resident? Commuter? Save yourself 2000 pounds and 100 hours in 2014, and have a better journey! - (2013-12-20)
  [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)
  [4198] New trains for 2014 - Swindon to Westbury. Meetings Melksham, Swindon, Trowbridge, Chippenham and Westbury - (2013-10-24)
  [4196] Official - Trowbridge and Melksham to London train improvements - (2013-10-22)
  [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)
  [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)
  [4148] Special General Meeting, Adoption of Constitution for TransWilts Community Rail Partnership - (2013-08-01)
  [4142] Passenger survey at Chippenham - report and pictures - (2013-07-24)
  [3986] Rail services in Wiltshire - up in the air? We need to say what is best required. - (2013-01-20)
  [3881] Wiltshire Public Transport User Group co-ordination - (2012-10-05)


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Some other Articles
Open for the new year - Imber
Not wanted here - hotel guests who will not be happy
Well House Consultants - Public Training Course times for 2014
Well House Consultants - course prices for 2014
Thin end of the wedge - plan to be thicker in 2014
Mallory Place, The Spa, Wellington Drive, Melksham - a Christmas present for you
Happy Christmas from the Well House Manor team
Saturday train to Swindon - two weeks in
TransWilts - first day pictures
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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