Duncan Hames joined BBC Wiltshire for an outside broadcast at Melksham Station on the 8th June to discuss the need for better TransWilts rail services.
Despite being the fourth largest town in Wiltshire, Melksham’s rail service has been woeful since the last government cut it in the current franchise, with only two trains leaving at times which are useless for those local residents who wish to commute. A TransWilts rail service would dramatically improve the options for journey planning for local people by linking services calling at Westbury, Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon on existing railway infrastructure.
Demand for the service is strong, and it is supported by the local business community, Wiltshire Council and other local Members of Parliament, co-ordinated by the excellent Trans-Wilts Community Rail Partnership. Previously, 1,500 people and 150 businesses completed a survey on the website about how they would use a better service on the line. The Community Rail Partnership secured a trial of additional summer services on the TransWilts line in 2011, although these will not be re-introduced this summer.
Duncan is a strong supporter of the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership’s campaign for an improved TransWilts line between Swindon and Salisbury, pressing ministers on the floor of the House of Commons for decisive action and previously presenting a petition on behalf of Melksham Oak School Council, calling for improved rail services in the area. He also submitted a response to the Department for Transport’s Great Western Franchise Consultation earlier this year, calling for a baseline commitment from bidders to sustaining the TransWilts service beyond the first three years of operation while also lobbying the Department for support for this service from the Coalition Government’s new Sustainable Local Transport Fund.
Duncan said, “It is disappointing that the extra services which were trialled so successfully last summer will not be reintroduced this year. However, I will continue to work with the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership and bid for government funds for a full commuter service to be restored.”