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THE local train service from Melksham Railway Station has become ‘horrendously unreliable’ according to a local transport campaigner.
Graham Ellis, acting chair of the Melksham Transport User Group, said barely half of the scheduled trains have run since a new timetable was introduced in mid-December.
“Melksham’s train service has been horrendously unreliable recently,”
Graham told Melksham News. “Of 576 trains in the published timetable for the five weeks from 11th December (when the timetable changed), only 299 actually ran.
“A variety of strikes, staff shortages and broken down trains accounted for the majority of the cancellations, many of which are at very short notice, so people cannot pre-plan.
“Reliability problems are not new and I have written a rather blunt letter to GWR asking them to fix the problems, and not just offer us apologies and excuses – passengers cannot travel on excuses, they need trains.
“I have copied the letter to industry and political contacts, and our MP Michelle Donelan has raised it with Mark Hopwood, the managing director of GWR.”
Graham, who is also a Melksham town councillor, added, “It’s easy to criticise and sit back to let people sort things out. But I hope I have been more helpful in this case. With local services south of Westbury, and north of Swindon, being revised this May, I have suggested that the train service on our line be revised too – instead of using five different trains for different parts of the day, I have suggested that GWR use a single dedicated service, with two crew shifts.
“These would be a slight reduction in services (down from 116 to 112 per week calling at Melksham), but the dedicated train service would be close to the time of current services for the most part, with onward connections improved.
“With a robust timetable and service from the May timetable change, I really hope we can look forward to some wonderful day out trips this summer, and a major rebuilding of confidence and use from the low point of recent weeks.”