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Transwilts to celebrate first anniversary

The Trans-Wilts train service which provides better rail services between Westbury and Swindon will be celebrating its first anniversary with a cake and festive Father Christmas trains.

Subsidised by Wiltshire Council, the project which launched in December 2013 has improved travel for those travelling north-south through Wiltshire between Westbury and Swindon, stopping at Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham.

For the past year there have been trains running every two hours on weekdays, including early morning and evening services in both directions, as well as an additional four trains on Sundays.

The journey time from Westbury to Swindon is 48 minutes, and just 20 minutes to travel between Chippenham to Trowbridge. The Trans Wilts service is run by First Great Western with funding from the council and the Government for the first three years.

Celebrations will take place on Sunday 14th December at Westbury railway station – including a birthday cake for supporters of the campaign.

The cake cutting will precede an anniversary journey leaving Westbury at 10.32am and later that day there are two Santa Special trains, for families and children to enjoy, and a ‘folk music’ train early evening. Horace Prickett, portfolio holder for transport at Wiltshire Council said, “It is thanks to the hard work of people who have driven this project forward that we have the north-south Trans Wilts line for three years and we hope beyond. Now the challenge is to extend the line southwards from Westbury to Salisbury.”

Graham Ellis, of the Trans Wilts Community Partnership, a volunteer group said, “Wiltshire has for years been well-served by trains travelling through the county horizontally. There are three lines running east to west through Wiltshire, but only one serving north to south and serving the centre.

“Our first year has been a great success, with the service proving very popular. As the first anniversary is so close to Christmas we are celebrating with a Santa Special.”

All 120 tickets for the 1.15pm Santa Special have sold out. But there are still tickets available on the 4.17pm train to Swindon and back. People can join from Westbury at 4.17pm, from Trowbridge at 4.20pm, or from Melksham at 4.30pm.

Tickets are priced at £9 for adults and £5 for children. Tickets can be bought from Melksham Tourist Information Centre, Trowbridge Tourist Information Centre, and Westbury Visitor Centre. For more ticket and trip details go to  twcrp.info/santa

For more information about the Trans Wilts line, including timetables and fares, go to www.connectingwiltshire.co.uk