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In 2014, the new train service brought long distance public transport connectivity to Melksham.
A three day survey in October revealed over 100 different start points and destinations right across England, Wales and Scotland. Total journey figures for the first year (to 13th December) are still to be confirmed, but look to be some three to four times above the initial first year target.
The train service remains a trial (running to December 2016) and detailed decisions regarding services from 2017 onwards will be made in due course, based not only on last year’s successful launch, but also on ongoing use this (2015) year.
Trains run every day right through the winter and spring – timetables are available online (start at melksh.am/trains), at staffed railway stations, and in Melksham at the Tourist Information Centre, the library, the town hall, Well House Manor and the LA Diner.
Train fares rise a little on 5th January; a day return to Swindon will then cost £6.80 (off peak) or £9.40 (peak, on the 07:20 or 07:49 trains, Monday to Friday). Return travel to London at weekends (and super offpeak during the week) will cost £51, with advance purchase tickets for single journeys for specific trains costing as little as £13.
Children pay just half of these prices (free under 5) and railcard holders get a 34% reduction on most fares – cards are available for anyone over 60 years of age (senior card), aged 16 to 25, travelling ‘two together’, disabled, and with the forces.
There are eight trains each way per day calling at Melksham on Mondays to Saturdays, and six (to Chippenham and Swindon), five (to Trowbridge and Westbury) on Sundays. There’s free car parking at Melksham Station, and the free Melksham Rail Link Bus connects Bowerhill, Snowberry Lane, Skylark Road and Melksham Forest to the station for the 07:20 and 07:49 departures on Mondays to Fridays, returning from the station after the arrival of trains at 18:03, 18:48 and 19:18.
Trains are operated by First Great Western who may be reached on tel: 0345 7000 125; the service is supported by the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership (the community working together with Wiltshire Council and First Great Western) at www.twcrp.org.uk, or on tel: 0845 459 0153.