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Increased rail services for Melksham open for consultation

MELKSHAM could be set to have an increased rail service from December.

Plans to run trains from Melksham to Cheltenham Spa, Swindon, Westbury and Southampton Central are currently under review as part of a stakeholder consultation. The consultation gives Wiltshire Council and other current and potential train operators on the line such as the freight companies and Network Rail the opportunity to input on both operational and financial arrangement matters.

Graham Ellis from the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership said, “Should the service that’s out for consultation be accepted and go ahead, it would make the most enormous difference to Melksham. Businesses in the town, events and its residents are severely held back by the current lack of long-distance pubic transport. From a commuting and  resident opportunity standpoint, the service as suggested would be a hundred times better than the current service in terms of outbound day trips including work commutes to Swindon.  So it will be a real economic boost for some of our areas which have the highest poverty and lowest private vehicle ownership wards in Wiltshire.”

The increased service is sure to increase passenger numbers using Melksham station, but Graham feels the station is well prepared on the platform. He said, “The station platform itself can cope. Experience on special occasions is that we can load a significant crowd onto a train – far beyond what we would expect or dream of for an individual service on a daily basis.

“The information point is excellent when it works, and the shelter and sheltered cycle area adequate to start with.

“Outside the station, some areas would need to be improved. The current ten car spaces needs to be dramatically increased and access to the station for pedestrians, cyclists and a bus that stops near-by would have to be looked in to.”

Melksham Railway Development group is due to meet on 6th September at 7.30pm in the Town Hall.