The first six months of 2020 have been like no other year! The Melksham Rail User Group became the station friends member of ACoRP in January as planned, and embarked on continued planning for the year, to be thrown off course by the lockdown of the Coronavirus in March. We found ourselves in the unknown territory of supporting public transport by telling people to stay at home is they could and not use it, and even as things have started to open up in the last twp months (writing Septeber 2020), government advice o use private cars to get around has frightened people away, with public transport as something of a last resort.
Melksham Rail User Group has met online (via Zoom) during this time, with friends activities at stations suspended across the UK (the planter at Melksham has done very well, but the place as a whole could have done with a litter pick or two a bit of TLC). Carnivals, fetes and fayres largely suspended, and out local paper ceasing delivery - so again much of the activity has been online.
We are now at the point where our major train and bus operator are ready to welcome you back ... safety has always been paramount, but with knowledge, facemasks, new cleaning regimes, and a much lower infection rate, it is safe for people to travel in higher numbers, and to and from Melksham at least there is good capacity on all services.
Please take a look at
* Current services all in our Septeber newsletter ((here)) * Some local travel ideas in our July newsletter ((here))
* Travelling as we come out of Coronavirus ((here)) We plan to resume some limited normal activities in the next weeks, leading up to our regular meeting scheduled for 16th September. An element of an "in real life" meeting may be possible for those who cannot use Zoom
Some good has come from recent times. Online meetings, monthly newsletters, and developing relationships with partners should not be lost, as we have our work cut out moving forward to rebuild public transport use to, from and within Melksham both for our community and for the wider environment and climate too.
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).
News and Upcoming ....
September 2020 newletter ((here))
Next Newsletter - 1.10.2020 (deadline 28.9)
Next MRUG meeting - 18.11.2020
(notes from 16.9 this weekend)
|4.9.20 / Car park - pay cash or phone in to RingGo 0203 046 0060 / location code 21575. ((details))|
* Looking foward with pictures of some presents
* The new way of running the rails - what do you EXPECT of the new system?
* The new way of running the rails - what would you LIKE in the new system?
* Who will be running the railway, and under what regime - 2022, 2025, 2030?
* Who is running the railway this morning?
* New footbridge at Castle Cary?
* 22nd September 2020 - Coffee Shop "Tuesday Club" - 16:00 get-together