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Members of the Trans-Wilts Community Rail Partnership and Great Western Railway gathered at Melksham Railway Station last week to celebrate the doubling of the number of seats available for passengers on the line.
With new and improved services operating in the London Thames Valley and newer services on some suburban Bristol commuter routes, GWR has been able to add an extra carriage to services which operate between Westbury and Swindon.
The additional carriage builds on previous improvements to increase the frequency of service on the TranWilts line, when six extra trains a day in each direction were added.
TransWilts Community Rail Partnership’s Graham Ellis said, “Having an additional carriage on Trans-Wilts trains allows us to resume the phenomenal growth we have seen on services through and to Melksham, for the benefit to businesses and passengers in the area served.
“This additional capacity is a vital step in changes that have taken place over the past few years with Great Western, turning a token service into a vital service for the communities it serves.
“Services now run all day, every day and with longer trains, meaning that the train once again has capacity to carry everyone who wishes to travel.
“Support from the local community, Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Parish Council, and Wiltshire Council, has been behind the astonishing growth, which is expected to continue. The Melksham Rail User Group (chair – Peter Blackburn, secretary John Hamley) and the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership (chair Paul Johnson, friends secretary Bob Morrison) providing the support that has enabled the success.
“A big “thank you” too to Great Western who run our trains, and to the Association of Community Rail Partnerships who provide a support framework for community lines and services such as ours. But most of all, thank you to our passengers who may travel once a day, once a month or just once a year – without you, we could not have succeeded and in succeeding helped Melksham’s connectivity and economy.”
Speaking on behalf of GWR at the event, business assurance director Joe Graham said, “Today we have achieved another milestone, improving capacity on this ever-popular line; doubling the number of seats available, and allowing the recent growth we have seen to continue into the future.
“As well as these improvements on this Community Rail line, the introduction of even more new Intercity Express trains is providing a step change in passenger transport, part of the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation.”
18 trains a day call at Melksham Station during the week, with 16 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday, alternately taking passengers to Chippenham (10 minutes) and Swindon (28 minutes), and to Trowbridge (10 minutes) and Westbury (17 minutes).