For 2019, we have had an exciting program of meetings and events ... with the longer platform and longer trains we were able to promote the service widely. Now in 2020, we now have a significantly amended timetable, which started on 15th December 2019. We'll complement this with a program to continue the success of the line and the group.
Our first 2020 public meeting on 22nd January included a useful presentation from GWR on fares.
All meetings (unless otherwise advised) are held at 19:30 in the hall at the back of the United Reform Church just off Melksham Market Place. Remaining meetings for 2020 are 18th March, 20th May, 22nd July, 16th September and 18th November - and no doubt more to be added!
A full report on 2019 and plan for 2020 document is available in print, or may be downloaded [[here]]
A review of the last decade and a look forward
We started the last decade with around 3,000 journeys per annum, and with Save the Train as the online campaign group for TransWilts services, looking to save the vestiges of the service that had been cut back a couple of years earlier.
We ended the last decade with around 75,000 journeys per annum, with the Melksham Rail User Group providing local encouragement and support - a rebranding of the Development group - but very much a "station friends" group, working as partners with the rail industry and our local CRP which grew out of "Save the Train".
Although passenger journeys have risen from 3,000 to 75,000 in a decade, that's based on a service that's risen only from unusable to "thin and poor". Gaps of 2 and half hours (10:01 to 12:32) in a service for short journeys such as Melksham to Swindon (25 minutes) or Trowbridge to Chippenham (19 minutes) put most people off using the service. Step up to a reliable hourly service, and passenger numbers at Melksham by the end of this new decade should exceed 300,000.
Our mission is to maintain and enhance facilities at Melksham station, and to act as an independent voice of the station users.
Melksham is served by up to 18 trains a day on the line from Swindon to Westbury via Chippenham and Trowbridge.
Melksham Railway Station was closed in “the Beeching Era” - 1966. It re-opened in 1985, with British Rail, local councils and passengers partnering to bring back at least a part of the facility that had been so missed in the area.
The Melksham Railway Development Group (MRDG) was a community group that has worked hard over the years to support the station, though sometimes when the service was so poor it looked like it was lost again, and indeed if it weren’t for MRDG, Melksham might not have a station or train service today. Five years ago, MRDG working with the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, persuaded Wiltshire Council to sponsor, the Department for Transport to fund and GWR to run a three year trial of addition trains, and they have been very successful – for the first time since its re-opening, Melksham now has sufficient trains for passenger numbers to have grown well, and although the group is still very much concerned with further development, it has been renamed the Melksham Rail User Group (MRUG)
Melksham Rail User Group runs on a small budget kindly funded by Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Councils, and our membership includes representatives of both organisations. Events such as the Santa trips are costed to break even - their main intent is to publicise and promote the station and trains that serve it; any profit made is ploughed back into group funds. All work done for "MRUG" by the members is on a voluntary basis, for which the group is grateful.
The Group is also a member of the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, supporting the use and growth of local and regional passenger train services on the Swindon to Westbury line via Chippenham, Melksham and Trowbridge, with service on to Dilton Marsh, Warminster and Salisbury. It is also a 'friend' of the Association of Cimmunity Rail Partnerships (ACoRP).
Nest MRUG public meeting|
18th March 2020 - see [here]
* Rail v fly - Southern England to Scottish Lowlands
* Gipsy Patch Lane Bridge
* Stanmore to Charing Cross - direct.
* Close to each other, but unconnected ... trains and buses, Melksham example
* Westbury Station - a review of changes on Station Approach
* Facilities for long distance coach passengers
* The effect of more bums on seats