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News from Melksham Rail User Group

Updated June 15th 2019

John Money

Yesterday (28th April 2019), we said our final farewells to John Money - formerly treasurer of the Melksham Rail Development Group which has become the "Melksham Rail User Group", such has been the success of the "development". A group of us from Melksham, together with former managers and staff at the Seaton Tramway, where John was a stalwart volunteer for many years, met up for a private buffet lunch at which we remembered John, rode the trams, and after the last tram had gone and the line was closed for the night, scatttered his ashed at Cownhayne Loop.



John was unique and multi-facetted. Stories of his days with General Post Office Telephones as a specialist engineer and as a union ad safety officer. Of his days at the Seaton Tramway where he was heavily involved with the signal and telegraph aspects, driving, and more. Of his interest and logging of weather on a daily basis, of recording of many, many TV and other videos over the years - often on equipment that was ahead of its time, again ahead of his time of his interest in nature and climate friendly issues, and so much more. We each have our own memories - I remember John popping in to talk through the weather and what was happening on the railways for long hours ahile we awaiting check-ins at Well House Manor.

A big "Thank You" to the Seaton Tramway team, and especially to Mike Poole for organising the day, and for his pictures mixed in with mine here.





Melksham Station Litter pick

13th April 2019 A big "thank you" to the ten volunteers who helped tidy the area around the station on Saturday 13thApril as part off the Great British Litter pick, in parallel with other litter picks organised by TransWilts at Chippenham and Trowbridge Stations.









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

These are trips in addition to regular meetings

22nd June 2019 - MRUG promotional stand at Shaw Fete.

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 platform and longer trains, and passenger numbers are starting to rise again. The station 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 successful, 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



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 issues.

Further details can be found 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 22nd June 13:00-16:00 - Melksham Rail User Group has a stand at Shaw fete. Do call by and say hello. Shaw playing field, Beeches Green, Shaw, Melksham.


Wednesday 24th July - next meeting of Melksham Rail User Group. 19:30, Town Hall, all welcome - see [here]. 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.



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