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PLANS are taking shape for a big overhaul at Melksham Railway Station as services stopping in the town get busier and the line continues to be one of the fastest improving in the UK.
Local rail campaign group, TransWilts Community Rail Partnership (CRP), is discussing future improvements to the station as more and more people take the train to and from Melksham.
The revamp could cost around £1.2million and include tripling the length of the platform; ten extra parking spaces; bus turning and drop-off space; another shelter; steps up to Bath Road, and a dedicated cycle and footpath towards McDonald’s.
The station has seen passenger numbers skyrocket in the past few years, to the extent that the CRP expects the station to be used for more journeys every week in 2026 than it was in the entire of 2011.
Melksham man and community rail officer Graham Ellis told Melksham, Independent News, “This is very exciting and exactly the direction the CRP wants to be going in.
“Trains on the line will be getting longer next year, so this is a project we could see going ahead in the next year or two. It’s not a long term ‘sometime in the future’ plan.
“Our improvements to the line have been successful so far, and people are actually a bit shocked that it’s going so well.
“The big rise in passenger numbers has meant the platform is getting crowded and some trains are being held up because the station isn’t big enough. We’ve moved from trying to solve a problem to creating one!
“I hope this development will ease that and will encourage even more people to use the town’s service.”
The new development could see Melksham Tyre Supplies move across the road to a site being vacated by Reeds Construction and Engineering. Part of the same site could also be used for a rail ticket office and extended station car park.
TransWilts CRP has been actively promoting the Wiltshire train line and adding extra services in Melksham since 2013. As a result, journeys through the town have increased from around 8,000 per year to over 50,000.
By 2026, the group expects to see 395,000 journeys per year – 1,600 a day – to and from the station.
Graham said it was possible the trains could one day become so busy that another platform would have to be added at Melksham. 119 trains now stop every week at Melksham station, with 12 new services added just two months ago. The station was named the seventh most improved in the country for 2015, after it saw an almost 120% increase in journeys in a single year.
For more details about the TransWilts CRP go to www.twcrp.org.uk or visit the Trans-Wilts office at Well House Manor, Spa Road, the Tourist Information Centre, library or town hall. On 16th, 17th and 18th July, CRP members will be on all trains passing through the station, happy to answer people’s questions.