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News from Melksham Rail User Group

Updated March 2019

Safety briefing at Melksham Station.

22nd March 2019 - a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended the briefing on Friday 22nd March in preparation for the Great British Spring CLean. An excellent group showing the power of volunteering in Melksham and we look forward to seeing you on 13th April. Due to the last minute change of plans by GWR and TransWilts, we are not yet clear to work in zone 1, but we are now set up to make zones 2 through 8 smart and welcoming.

Passenger Survey at Melksham, 5th February 2019


Thank you to everyone who gave up their time on a cold and drizzly day on Tuesday 5th February helping with the MRUG survey at Melksham Station. We ran 5 shifts covering the entire train running day, and collected car park usage data in addition to passengers counts and traveller surveys. A great many thanks to the passengers who gave us insight into their journeys. As always we found a wide variety of reasons to travel, and a wide list of destinations. We'll publish the results when we have analysed them - ** RESULTS - added 16.02.2019

On duty from before first light


Our peak teak of volunteers


Keeping our data clean and dry even in the rain


Initial analysis / counts show 111 departing passenger and 103 arriving on 5th February - almost all round trips, with an equal balance of single outbound and single inbound journeys. The difference of 8 is accounted for by people who left during the day, but had to make other arrangements to get back because they had things to do beyond the last train to Melksham (19:32 from Westbury / 20:08 from Swindon).

A cool, grey day which turned into drizzle and then to rain. Some 85% of departing passengers completed our individual passenger survey, so we now have good data for use about their journeys to and from the station in Melksham, as well as being able to tie up round trips - looking beyond individual train loading to which outbound train ties in with which inbound. Lots of data entry to do; scheduled for the week after next as it's not as urgent as the initial data (which included car park counts) that was 'critical path' stuff for TransWilts.

I was especially struck by the number of passengers - interviewed as they left Melksham - who were unsure which service they would be retuning on. This confirms our strong and successful campaign to have services at intervals all through the day rather than to meet specific flow. It also suggests that our passengers are prepared to significantly change their travel plans to suit return trains - "I'll catch the 15:18 if I can, but if still at work I'll do another couple of hours and catch the 17:36" ... for many, though, a 16:36 would be really useful, and indeed it would bring us a lot of new passengers - many is the job that may overshoot by a few minutes, but then having hang around for 2 hours ...

Events for 2019

Posted December 2018 - these are trips in addition to regular meetings

28th April 2019 - day trip to Seaton for the Tramway. Train to Yeovil Pen Mill from where we hope to have a vintage bus (we'll settle for a modern one if we have to). John Money memorial trip

15th May 2019 - Community Rail in the City. Looking for volunteers to help us in Reading

7th July 2019 - Escorted Sunday trip to Weymouth for those unfamiliar with the train

18th September 2019 - Take the train from Melksham to Trowbridge, guided walk back

15th December 2019 - Santa Trip on the train from Melksham

Melksham Station Development - The Hub

Posted November 2018

2018 has seen a longer plaform and longer trains, and passenger numbers are starting to rise again. The ststion needs extra facilities - better information, a toilet, a cafe, more parking, a bus stop, someone around at busy times to inform people ... and TransWilts with the support of the Melksham Rail User Group is looking to refurbish the hut in the yard across from the station to provide these facilities. A bid to GWR's CCIF grant scheme was made in October and we will know the outcome soon; if sucssessful, we'll be looking at a major and exciting build project during 2019.

Swindon to Southampton

A lot of progress has been made on the proposal to provide an all-day service between Wiltshire and Southampton Airport and the city itself. Following extensive efforts, led by the TransWilts, it has been established the service could utilise existing rolling stock that currently runs between Swindon and Westbury, Westbury and Salisbury and the service south of Salisbury but as a joined up service.

As well as providing long distance connectivity the proposals also include earlier northbound arrivals into Swindon from Westbury and better timed commuter services for those heading south to Trowbridge and Westbury.

Talks are continuing with GWR and SWR to iron out the details and move towards a possible start date.

Engineering work changes affecting Melksham and the area during 2019


Posted 14th February 2019
Hopefully there will be less service changes this year than we had in 2018 (resulting from engineering works and electrification from Reading to Bristol and Newbury). However we do have some weekend bus replacements advised as follows:

• Sunday 17th February- the first train to/from Melksham each way is replaced by a bus, then trains take over.

In April there are a number of bus replacements at weekends and changes to other services in the area
• Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April, all trains to/from Melksham replaced by bus.*
• Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April, all trains to/from Melksham replaced by bus.*
• Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May, all trains to from Melksham replaced by bus. *

* On theses dates,
• all lines will be blocked between Westbury and Bath Spa as well as between Westbury and Chippenham, plus all lines will be blocked Swindon and Bristol Temple Meads (except for Sat 6th April). There will be a normal service operating on long distance trains between London Paddington and the West of England on Saturday 6th April due to the Bath v Bristol rugby fixture at Twickenham.

• trains between London Paddington and the West of England will be diverted after Swindon via Bristol Parkway and won’t call at either Chippenham or Bath Spa.
• Services from Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour will terminate at Bristol Temple Meads (or Bath Spa on Sat 6th April) and then restart from Westbury.
• Services from Great Malvern or Gloucester to Weymouth will terminate at Bristol Temple Meads and restart from Westbury.
• SWR will start and terminate their weekend services between London Waterloo and Bristol Temple Meads at Westbury.
• During these weekends, buses/coaches will replace trains to those stations affected – including between Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury.

Further details can be flound on the GWR website at GWR.com/Bristol2019.


Any further issues, and we'll post here as soon as we hear of them.

 


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About the Melksham Rail User Group

Formerly the Melksham Rail Development Group Founded 1995

 

News and Upcoming ....

Saturday April 13th - Join the Great British Spring Clean at Melksham Station. Details at event page

Wednesday 22nd May - next meeting of Melksham Rail User Group. 19:30, Town Hall, all welcome - see [here]. This will be our AGM but other issues will be covered as normal. Please come along and make your inputs heard

Tribute to class 153 trains - the single carriages which provided the vital stepping stone from no useful service to what we now have, 2013-2018 on the line, now retiring from GWR

New "Great West Way Discover" tickets launched - travel as much as you like on selected routes, two of the tickets include Melksham - great for a Staycation or for visitors to the UK who are staying with you for a while. There are now 10 different rangers and rovers that include Melksham - see [here] for a list including maps and prices.

Did you know John Money - our stalwart supporter and treasurer for many years? Care to join us on 28th April on a trip to his beloved Seaton Tramway where a memorial plaque for the work he did for them and us will be dedicated on his favourite car (No. 8), and we'll be scattering his ashes before heading home.


News on the line ...

Engineering works (and meeting) calendar - click on image for larger scale / detail


Other sites to visit


Forum latest new topics

* It's so much faster skipping stations.

* Community Rail in Wales - status and plans

* [historic] - fatality at Melksham - call for footbridge

* bus question

* Controlled news release from Department for Transport - knew but did not tell

* Overrunning engineering - Easter Sunday 21st April 2019

* East Somerset Junction