Graham Ellis - Regular updates - my diary
Buses - Melksham way forward
Wiltshire Council is currently reviewing the public transport services that it organises. The Town Council has been asked to comment, and I have written a briefing note for our next Assets and Amenities Committee meeting. I have also been asked to comment from a couple of other standpoints with my public transport "hat" on. "We would therefore be keen to know your thoughts on what our bus service priorities should be and how and where financial support should be focused" my thoughts
Summary recommendation at the end of my briefing note - of Melksham area specific items that will "cost", I recommend in order:
1. (Re)instatement of route 15 / as route 16 and NOT to old route
2. Improved Sunday services to Bath - frequency and longer day
3. Real Time departure boards at Town Centre stops (links elsewhere)
4. Evening buses from Chippenham to Trowbridge and back via Melksham
5. Sunday buses from Chippenham to Trowbridge and back via Melksham
The briefing note can be found at http://grahamellis.uk/lib/busbetter20230613.pdf - user inputs welcome, please!
Published Tuesday, 13th June 2023
Out and about, learningOut and about! Like old times - VERY old times. In my youff, I travelled around a lot by train. Days were "semi-planned", but travel was on rover tickets and I could jump on and off trains within an area more or less as I pleased.
But yet it's not like old times; there's no heavy tomes of printed timetables to be tracking ahead - instead, there's online tracking (and, yes, I do have the electronic National Rail timetable mirrored). It's an opportunity to look and learn (I'm always learning!). It's an opportunity to update my photolibrary, and that has changed from the occasional photograph on a roll of 36 to hundreds each day. And (sorry, folks) it's an opportunity with modern internet connections to share my experiences rather than ending up with slides and prints in a dusty draw.
Amazingly, bulk buying train travel across an area is not expensive - I have an "8 out of 15 Severn and Solent Rover ticket" - 8 days in a fortnight that's cost me just over £8 per day (on a senior railcard that has cut is from £12) and I spent an extra £9 yesterday to add an "Explore Cardiff and The Valleys" day.
I would sorta-recommend my approach to people with the right attitude, but I would hate to define "right". It's not all a bed of roses - planning errors or snap decisions or service disruption can lead to unknown and long waits on cold (not at this time of year) dark platforms. But there are beautiful scenes, fascinating places, good people, and experiences that educate.
Published Monday, 12th June 2023
Splash Pad and Park - open for summerSitting enjoying my wrap from The Cricketers the other day, thinking what a great park we have here in Melksham. Fine weather but early afternoon and so most of the kids were in school, with those who *were* around being the "tinies".
A dad walks by with his child. "Dad - can we go in the SplashPad". "No son - its not open" and, indeed, the water wasn't running and gate was closed. It looked closed though (I checked, putting my head around the office door) it was open.
Now - it could be that Dad knew it was open, but hadn't got a towel with him, but it would seem to be an idea to have something there that says "open". A comment made that putting up a sign that says "open" might be seen as us taking the piss because we've had so many past issues with manning, but I'm happy to explain that not everyone "reads" the presence or absence of a lock and chain on the gate as an open/closed indicator. I look forward to a busy summer in the park, including at the Splash Pad
Published Saturday, 10th June 2023
Open to public input - not there yet, but getting thereWhen you elected me to the Town Council in 2021, you did so in spite of my breaking some of the conventions of local electioneering. One of those conventions was to be very much open with information to - well - anyone who's interested, within the bounds of personal, privacy and confidences, security, commercial, bullying, copyright, and so forth. This doesn't make my "job" any easier - I spend a fair chunk of time explaining, and nudge-nudge, wink-wink pre-meeting meetings that spring decisions are few and far between for me. I'm so glad I'm retired from paid work, as that extra time I have these days allows me to do this on a voluntary basis.
In years prior to my election, I attended council (Town, Without, Area Board) meetings from time to time and often I was accompanied in the public gallery only by others with an interest in the same agenda item. So when I was first elected to council, 2 years ago, I was not surprised to see the public gallery at our meetings empty. But why was that ...
- because there's no interest?
- because they don't know about a meeting?
- because there's so much interest that people leave infuriated, sleepless, feeling sickened?
- because the electorate has a trust in the people it's elected?
- because the electorate has trust in reading about it later in the MIN?
- because the electorate is too busy with its other priorities?
- because information about upcoming meeting is too hard to find?
- because it requires real effort and time investment to attend?
- because meetings are "listen only" for the public, so no chance to input?
- because people lack transport to get to and (especially) from meetings?
I am delighted to see an increased attendance and public interest at meetings these days - it's a cause for celebration because it allows a wider range of involvement than the 14 councillors, but also a curse in that things take longer and lots more explanation is necessary. No longer can as much be nodded through - and that's a huge change in just 25 months; I look back with regret at some of the things I nodded through when I knew no better in May 2021.
How has this change come about? Council meetings and committees are now livestreamed with both Zoom and Facebook feeds. The Facebook feed, where people can be anonymous, view later offline, skip forward and back, is dominant - as I write I have looked at the reported number of views of the last 4 meetings:
410 views - full, 15.5.2023
370 views - full, 22.5.2023
365 views - EcDev, 30.5.2023
272 views - A&A, 5.6.2023
In contrast, the Zoom really hasn't been used much. Although the clerk asks people to turn their video on if they want to say something, there's no guarantee that they'll be called if they do and if people (councillors or others) know they wish to speak, best turn up in person. And legally councillors have to be in the room to vote.
Credit to the staff who do "comms" for the Town Council in getting meeting notices out and visible ahead of time. Thank you - please keep up the good work.
There is never just one way of reaching people and I would like to think that my data feeds such as this blog (this is article no. 302) also help; certainly people feel informed, though frustratingly at time people feel informed after a key meeting rather than before. You're too late - decision already made is where I started with public transport campaigning in 2005 and it's galling BUT there needs to be a cut-off or nothing will ever get done! You don't understand the whole picture is often valid too - and that's where I can help to explain; often there are tradeoffs on cost, or in providing something for one group that disadvantages another, or where proving something is easy enough, but it becomes something that's unmaintainable into the future or creates a safeguarding risk.
I'm triggered to write the above through interactions over the addition of lighting in KGV park, which has been "rumbling along" for a long time - certainly from prior to my time as a councillor. Continued strong feelings this week have lead me to look back, stung by suggestions that public visibly and input has been limited thus having us end up with what some consider a less than optimum system going in.
Looking back, lighting in the park has indeed been discussed at Council and previously blogged - see http://grahamellis.uk/blog750.html from January 2023 for a long explanation, or http://grahamellis.uk/search.html?search=lighting to trawl through the 16 of over 300 blogs where I mention lighting.
In January, the scheme to be installed passed with 9 in favour and 6 against. I wrote "Having given you six reasons I am with the minority on your council on this, I accept the majority decision and understand it's their decision for you the voters. I will support that, doing my best to make sure the scheme is implemented optimally." And that's where I remain. We can't go on, for ever discussing and doing nothing in the hope of an eventual unanimous decision. But what we should do is to learn from this experience in consultation and decision where some feel left out and see if we can do better with the next projects.
And so ... I am delighted at the high volume of discussions at the moment on things like the best use and future of the public estate at and adjoining the Market Place; please continue to work with your councillors and staff team as we all work hard for the continued operation and progress of Melksham. It ain't easy - some of us are new, others of us have many years under our belt, but these are changing times and we all need to learn and update to match those times, and much of that can very deep - even behind the scenes of what I write here. I spent 2 hours yesterday afternoon learning about and helping others clarify how VAT and commissions work on gigs at the Assembly Hall; it as needed as a consequence of the new pricing policy brought in a year ago, and I came out of that meeting encouraged that we all - staff, councillors, contractors, artists, and people book to perform and attend those performances will be better served in the future. That's the power of having more than just a couple of councillors involved.
Illustration - behind the scene at your Town Council. Yes, that really is a picture - taken on Monday afternoon - on Town Council property. Do you know what it is, or is that just too much information and it should be left to the staff team with councillor 'lite' direction?
Published Wednesday, 7th June 2023
Blue Pool, Allotments, Lighting, Museum, EcoLoo, Shambles, Assembly HallReally good to see all the seats in the "Public Gallery" at Assets and Amenities filled last night (5.6.2023). Democracy in action as members of the public come along, address the council, and get answers. More people are coming along these days and it's fantastic to see.
Allotments - picking up on a query from last Autumn, asking for spare produce to be allowed to be donated, water supplies to troughs, an update to allow people on the waiting list to take over allotments from those which are basically abandoned, and for facilities for recycling hard woody material. The terms and conditions do now allow the passing of spare produce to the likes of the larder, but the other issues look as if nothing has happened, to the frustration of an allotment holder
Lighting in KGV - continues to be controversial, with the price for what has been agreed and discussed ad infinitum going up to between £63,000 and £68,000 from £60,000. Some feel that there are better and lower cost solutions. My personal view all along is that we have a scheme that provides more lights than we need, and with placement that's not really solving a problem - the problem bing to make people feel safe as they pass through the park on dark evenings. The motion to find the extra £8,000 passed; I abstained as did a couple of others, with Councillor Goodhind voting against and requesting that his vote is recorded in the minutes ... I respect that the decision to go ahead with this lighting has been made democratically, but I cannot add my name to supporting growing cost.
Shambles festival review. An excellent event the other week - so good for hundreds of people who enjoyed the day, and the council passed a vote of thanks to the organiser. The park is there to be used. Sadly, it's the nature of events that there are complaints - the Christmas lights and turn on event that so many of you love generate complaints "even before the fireworks", and it's a minor miracle that only one complaint - of base noise - was received about Shambles. The whole was run with consultation with county experts, noise monitored all through and it was utterly within limits. A first running of the festival, though, and for next time a look will be taken at speaker placement, and information will be circulated more widely, beyond close neighbours, so that people are not taken by surprise.
EcoLoos - concern that hand sanitiser (rather than hand washing) only has limited effect against certain viruses such as norovirus and asking for a reassurance that what's provided addresses this. Also concern from councillors at the more "natural" smells, and is it a celebration that the usage is outstripping the forecast.
Museum. Several speakers raised the issue of a museum for Melksham - that it's in the constitution of the Melksham and District Historical Association, that people visit the very limited local private collections looking for information, and that our history attracts visitors to the town. The speakers were addressing the final public item on the agenda, which was asking for the building which houses both the Assembly Hall and the Blue Pool to be taken forward as a singe entity to meet needs for the future.
Reuse of Blue Pool - the big topic on the agenda. Speakers looked at the http://melksham.town/BluePool suggestion of what could be done with modest updates to bring the two buildings together for the Assembly Hall, for a museum, for a maintenance shed, and for Town Council parking. One speaker referred to the cramped bar area in the current Assembly Hall and how a new entrance would allow an expansion of service there. Another referred to the limited access to the hall at present an queues at the loos. Reference was made to the hall being hidden, whereas a vista entrance off the Campus site (with the breeze-block wall removed) would make a huge difference, and others spoke of improved parking in the area that was the patio, and of how the hall is a real gem, but yet a hidden secret in many ways.
The Committee passed (my) motion looking forward to the future for the Assembly Hall, the Blue Pool and the area - rightly saying this is too big for a final decision to be made by the committee; preparatory work to be done over coming weeks, to bring to full council at the end of this month (June 2023)
It is right that other options are explored at this time too and that we establish (for example) if Wiltshire Council are talking to others about viable schemes for the Blue Pool. There is a rumour of negotiations for its sale as a privately operated swimming pool, and questions as to whether it could revert to being an outdoor lido. There is a question as to whether it should be allocated to housing, and whether a new Assembly Hall entrance would be better provided through the old fire station.
We also need to do a great deal more work, and the officers present last night have been changed with oiling the wheels with Wiltshire Council. A short lead meeting of the Assembly Hall Working Group, adding in Friends of Melksham Assembly Hall, is also on the cards. I was unable to give an indication of costs last night - we simply don't know what position WC will take, nor (without access) what might need to be done. We need expert, some of whom we have access to through FoMAH contacts, to give us that overview. What we can be sure of is that demolishing the whole lot, building anew and with an entrance through the fire station would be rather costly and I suspect a grandiose scheme that would not get off the drawing board.
Illustration - before the meeting, and with a hirer unloading for their event at the Assembly Hall, you can see how tight it can be. As an advocate of public transport, it grieves me to be looking at additional parking, but there is sense in providing extra car parking for those visiting or working at the Town Hall, Assemmbly Hall, and in the future perhaps the Museum
Published Tuesday, 6th June 2023
Town Centre Cluster - Looking forwardGood to receive the clarification from Wiltshire Council yesterday that they have rejected Melksham Town Council's offer of £2 million to buy Melksham House. In my view, probably no bad thing - I really wonder what the Town Council would have done with the building, and I saw no business case. Also good news to read on the end of the letter from Wiltshire Council "Whilst this now finalises the future of this site, I do wish to open constructive dialogue with you to discuss the future ownership of the old Blue Pool site which adjoins the Assembly Rooms site and your offices and I look forward to hearing from you in due course on this matter". See (here) where I have mirrored the letter.
It makes a huge sense to consider the future provision for Melksham Town Council's residents (and those who are not our taxpayers in Melksham Without too) at this time of change. What came up on the needs assessment triggered by discussions of the Assembly Hall future at the end of last year? What came up from the big town centre masterplan consultation earlier this year?
I give you ... an improved Assembly Hall / venue ... a museum for Melksham ... a volunteer / community hub ... a desire for Melksham House, and the Town Hall to remain as key buildings in our community. See http://melksham.town/Blue Pool
Even before Wiltshire Council's confirmation on the future of Melksham House, the Friends of Melksham Assembly Hall and others were taking a community look at the natural symbiosis of these evidenced desires, together with other operational requirements such as a depot location for the Melksham Town amenities team. And that team, together with wider interests, came up with a suggestion put as a public question ("please will you consider this?") to full council on 22nd May 2023 by Howard Jones. To help progress things along, I have put a councillor motion forward for next Monday's Assets and Amenities Committee asking that "It is resolved that the council staff with volunteer assistance from members of the Assembly Hall Working Group and friends of the Assembly Hall bring a researched proposal to full council prior to any irreversible actions or decisions on the pubic domain properties."
The proposal looks to be a sensible one to me - it answers the needs mentioned above, and I can see business, financial and user cases too. It may also help Wiltshire Council offload a building in the Blue Pool which has the potential to be a white elephant (or worse) to them.
However, this may not be the only proposal / idea that's going around. Last night, I learned of two other conversations going on, so I am uninformed on both of them so far:
1. """Wiltshire Council have been asked by a private company to buy the Blue Pool to continue private swimming lessons ... this seems to have been pushed under the rug ... I for one think that this is a great idea as it frees up the pool to memberships etc and benefits the whole town."""
2. """The other conversation was wouldn’t it be nice to if the blue pool was an open air lido again ... but this is only to be used certain months of the year ..."""
As yet, I don't understand the business case for a second swimming pool in Melksham - I find myself asking about how many people would use it, what they would be prepared to pay, and whether in competing the new Blue Pool and the Campus Pool would damage each other's businesses to the extent that neither was viable.
I am also aware of the limited season for an outdoor pool; I mentioned the cost of heating a pool last night (in a meeting with an advocate) and have been assured that it would be a cold water facility. I need to be sold on it having substantial use - more so than alternatives suggested.
There's often the art of compromise and tuning proposals to accommodate real desires and needs, and there's opportunity here, though sharing changing rooms and Assembly Hall event toilets would be an issue. The delay in the Town Council hearing about the SEMH deal has been frustrating, with a February decision only coming out in recent week, and it's now been suggested that something is going on between Wiltshire Council and a private company with regard the Blue Pool - for the sake of the community and the Melksham resident, it would really be helpful to know what that was so we can plan together toward the best joined up facilities for the town.
The motion to council on Monday does, I believe, stand on its own case. It does not require a swimming pool or lido to be included. But should that be added and enhance the case, and be what's come out from the needs evidence, what great news.
Published Saturday, 3rd June 2023
Which articles are you reading?Stop Press - Wiltshire Council have just written formally to Melksham Town Council with regard to the Town Council's formal offer made in April to purchase Melksham House. See (here) where I have mirrored the letter. I will follow up further tomorrow on what this means. Clue - I am encouraged, especially by the final paragraph.
Back on topic for today ...
Feedback is my lifeblood - so I look at tools like Google Analytics to see which of my pages people are clicking through to - "voting with their feet" if you like. In the last 4 weeks, some 1,114 pages have been read by 488 users and here are links to them in the order of the number of reads. These are "click throughs" - they are people accessing at the next level deeper than seeing a Facebook summary. I am listing only pages logged as read a significant number of times.
Melksham Town Council - who's who
Arranging facilities for Melksham
* Wiltshire Council - Homes for Ukraine Policy
Melksham House - for SEND
Stepping back from chairing
Why has the station planter gone?
Minutes and resolution - proposed Melksham House purchase
Comment and feedback - lifeblood
Trip report - Weymouth
% Celebration - late train back
% At council next week
Headline look ahead
Questions to Council
38 years ago today
Assembly Hall - rates unchanged
* My personal short cuts
What it's like to be Independent
Assembly Hall hire rates 2023/24
Bank Holiday thoughts
% Wiltshire Rail Station Progress
Coronation of King Charles III
* Melksham Assembly Hall
% - these are very recent posts and will have ranked lower in this list because they're still pretty active
* - these are articles are over 4 weeks old and will have ranked lower because they are now past their peak interest.
Published Friday, 2nd June 2023
Wiltshire Rail Station ProgressToday - 1st June - marks the anniversary of the opening of the station at Dilton Marsh in 1937. Incredibly, no other new railway stations have opened in Wiltshire in the 86 years since, though the station at Melksham was closed in 1966 and reopened 19 years later.
Dilton Marsh and Melksham stations have a great deal in common. Both offer limited passenger facilities, and both have suffered since they (re)opened from a sporadic service. Neither has a decent bus connection, and passengers using the station tend to walk or cycle there. Both have a significant local catchment and their rail use (passenger numbers per head of population) are way lower than other stations in the area - so they represent levelling up opportunities.
Although I write of currently poor services at both stations, both have moved forward in recent years. "Poor" is good compared to what it used to be; looking back a decade, both services were virtually unusable, with the stations provided with train services to meet legal requirements, and not to meet the needs of passengers. The Melksham joke was "Two trains a day - too early and too late".
At Dilton Marsh, a new southbound train added last December at 08:04 has made a school flow to Warminster and a commuter flow to Salisbury and Southampton a reality (already a success), and timetable changes with a handful more services and more through trains to Trowbridge, Bath and Bristol will make another big difference.
At Melksham, our useless service was increased to a sprinkling of services through the day with a dedicated carriage shuttling back and forth between Westbury and Swindon. As a three year experiment, that outperformed industry forecasts and was continued and continues to this day, now as part of the general GWR service contract. The single carriage train has been replaced by trains of 2 or 3 carriages in length, and the platform at the station has been increase in length to be able to handle those trains.
Things do not stand still, and various adjustments have been made to the services at Melksham since the experiment started. A Sunday morning train in high summer has been made permanent all year and now forms a vital part of our service. A demonstration that we ran with the West Wilts Rail User group of a late evening Monday to Friday service was added to the timetable just last month, and we now (at last!) have an all day, every day service. For this summer (only) we have a late train on Saturday evening too - but we are hopeful that the next step will be to have that or the equivalent run throughout the year. And not just "hope" in that we are making the operational and business case to GWR and suggesting it run in such a way that it's robust and efficient. Watch this space.
Looking further forward at Melksham, with the service running all day, every day the next step is to increase the frequency / fill in gaps. With a service every hour rather than every two hours, modelling suggests that passenger numbers would more than double, and early gaps that need to be filled include southbound departures from Melksham between 06:36 and 09:10, and again between 15:39 and 18:03. Both of those will be significant steps, requiring an extra train and perhaps extra capacity on the line such as a passing loop, as well as (maybe) a re-instatement of the 4th platform at Westbury and/or the third platform at Chippenham, both of which are still there but don't have a track alongside.
Onward connections at both Dilton Marsh and Melksham also need attention. I know Melksham well; we need a bus connecting with trains and servicing the Town Centre, East of Melksham, Bowerhill, Hampton Park and Berryfield before running back to the station to catch the next train is a next stage "road side". We demonstrated this during ClimateFest last year. Opening a foot and cycle way from the Station to Foundry Close - a few yards of path connecting very end of Station Approach to the already-placed roundabout near McDonalds, with land cleaning, footpath grading and removal of a fencing panel.
Last night, Bryony Chetwode of TravelWatch SouthWest came and gave us an inspirational talk at the West Wiltshire Rail User Group meeting in Trowbridge. At times, it feels like we are battling desperately hard against a storm of resistance, but in practise we are working alongside the "powers that be" in that same storm, and we are in partnership making significant long term change.
Published Thursday, 1st June 2023
At council next weekNext Week's Assets and Amenities (5th June 2023) - my briefing for the Environment and Climate Working Group. I have added a little more text here than usual, to explain procedures for any wider circulation.
I have noted items of potential interest on the agenda below. The really BIG one is item 10 which is a suggestion that we look to the Town Council taking over the Blue Pool as our replacement maintenance building, museum, and extended reception area for the Assembly Hall. There would be significant environmental risks and opportunities. As well as the agenda pack (link at the end), the background to this suggestion is at http://melksham.town/BluePool.
My view is this proposal makes sense. There is a lot of work to be done to progress it, and that needs to be done in a short time frame bearing in mind the stated alternative plans.
The meeting starts with "Public Participation – To receive questions from members of the public." And that's an opportunity to ask about the environmental aspects of the items on the agenda (or anything else). Once the main meeting starts, it's "listen only" for members of the public, unless the committee decides to "suspend standing orders" to invite others to speak. Typically that happens where we have experts / well informed people in the room who can help us make a better and broader based decision. The meeting concludes with a confidential session on workstreams - I have copied the published agenda explanation onto the base of this message by way of explanation.
Agenda items of potential interest to ECWG members (IMHO)
4. KGV Park
- 4.1 KGV Lighting
To note the following update. A Variation Order has been received from the successful tender. The project is still over budget.
- 4.2 KGV Maintenance Building
To note the following update. Repair & Demolition Report prepared. Awaiting final Bat Survey, which is expected by August.
- 4.3 KGV Fencing
Members to resolve on taking the project forward. Installation and budget agreed but not yet signed off.
- 4.4 ECO Loos
To note the following update. Self-locking timers purchased and installed, but not yet invoiced. Timers set to be open 7am-7pm.
- 4.5 Shambles Festival. The Festival took place on Saturday 20th May 2023. Head of Operations will give a verbal report.
7. Awdry Avenue Play Area. Proposal to invest up to £50,000 in replacing all equipment and designing a new park for the forest ward. Environmental comment - "Are there any environmental concerns which should be considered? Very little when digging up the ground but we can use responsibly sourced material to combat this"
8. Goal posts for Foresters Park. Proposal to remove the existing football goal post as it is in poor condition and replace it with a new post and a second one the other side of the field to help utilise the area better. Environmentak comment - "Are there any environmental concerns which should be considered? Very little when digging up the ground to install the goal post"
9. Resurfacing of Hazelwood Court. "Councillor Price is requesting the committee has a discussion on the resurfacing of Hazelwood Court." I am (sorry) trying to work out "Hazelwood Court". I have Hazelwood Road in my ward ...
10. Public Owned Assets in and around the Town Hall. "We have a number of potential risks and opportunities at present, relating to the future of the infrastructure of Melksham House, The Blue Pool, The Assembly Hall, and the Town Hall. We also have a number of desires or requirements on the service provision by the Town Council, such as council offices, a council chamber and meeting rooms, a community venue, a museum, parking, and a maintenance depot for our parks and gardens team." ... "Depending on works needed, the works would be environmentally considerate - for example any reroof could be open to solar panel roof which would also cut the energy running costs of all the buildings."
11. Confidential Session. Members are requested to discuss the following in Confidential session pursuant to Section 1 (2) of the Public Bodies Admission to Meetings) Act 1960; the Council, by resolution, may exclude the public from a meeting (whether during the whole or part of the proceedings) whenever publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons stated in the resolution and arising from the nature of that business or of the proceedings. In view of the sensitive nature of the business about to be transacted, it is advisable in the public interest that the public and press be excluded, and they are instructed to withdraw.
- 11.1 Work Stream and Priorities. Members have been issued with two Private and Confidential documents which are to be discussed and priorities are to be settled on for the coming work stream outlined. Consideration can be given to outsource some of the projects to enable completion if this option was felt suitable. For Decision.
Inputs welcome. Councillors on this committee: T Price (Chair), C Goodhind (Vice-Chair), P Aves, G Cooke, S Crundell, G Ellis, C Forgacs, J Hubbard, J Oatley if you want to get in touch with any of us ahead of time. Full agenda pack at https://moderngov.microshadeapplications.co.uk/MelkshamTC/documents/g817/Public20pack%2005th-Jun-2023%2019.0020Management20Amenities%20Committee.pdf?T=10
Published Wednesday, 31st May 2023
Celebration - late train backFor the first time in nearly 17 years, we have a late evening train to bring people home to Melksham - it arrives at 22:55.
The implications are massive. For the first time in the memory of many people, a full day out and getting home afterwards is now possible - this is the final piece of the jigsaw that we have been putting together with our campaign for years.
A big "thank you" to everyone who has helped get us to this point - to the managers and train planners who have set it up, and the staff who will be running the train every Monday to Friday.
A very low-key evening - a Bank Holiday and a Monday, no special advertising, but never the less three people arrived on the train into Melksham (and other were travelling on through). One of the people who got off stopped and chatted and told me what a godsend this new train is - it already made a difference for him tonight. It will never be the busiest of trains, but it fills a real need and I doubt it will ever be empty either. I look forward to working with GWR and with our Community Rail friends to make in work.
The late train leaves Swindon at 22:30 and Chippenham at 22:45 and arrives into Melksham at 22:55. Connection from London Paddington at 21:31 and from Bristol Temple Meads at 22:00.
In the opposite direction, the train runs from Westbury at 21:16 and Trowbridge at 21:22, arriving into Melksham at 21:32; connection from Southampton at 20:10 and Salisbury at 20:42.
Published Monday, 29th May 2023