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A LOCAL rail campaigner is encouraging people to make use of the new, improved rail service to Swindon from Melksham.
The TransWilts line, which runs from Salisbury to Swindon via Melksham, has offered an improved service since last Sunday.
First Great Western’s timetable has an additional six trains a day in each direction Monday to Saturday which will allow Melksham train users to have to reach more destinations more frequently.
Rail campaigner Horace Prickett said, “The recent announcement of an enhanced service across the Transwilts Line is really good news for connecting Wiltshire, especially its only Cathedral City, and Melksham with its largest conurbation, Swindon, by rail. The service will also mean a better deal for those wishing to travel to Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon. Currently getting between these stations is a nightmare, involving long detours and changes of train.
“This sad state of affairs is in spite of the fact that a through line between them already exists and was saved from the Beeching Axe some 50 years ago by determined local pressure groups. TransWilts service can become a viable and vital lifeline directly connecting Salisbury, all five towns of west Wiltshire including Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon.”
Horace continues, “Transwilts will be making a direct service between Salisbury, Westbury, Trowbridge, Melksham and Swindon an economic proposition.
“That the Transwilt Service can be made a success can be seen from the Severn Beach line. The populations served by the Severn Beach and Transwilts lines are similar. Since the introduction of the full Severn Beach service, passenger numbers have grown exponentially and the annual subsidy has been slashed and is about to disappear altogether. It would therefore seem that Wiltshire Council has made the right decision and has a one and only chance to make the Transwilts a success. It is now up to the public to support the service or lose it.”
However, he warns that local people must use the new services, otherwise they could be taken away in the future when they are reviewed saying, “When the current short-term subsidy runs out in three years, if traffic is not sufficient, the line will close.”