News

Wiltshire public transport cuts, December 2021

Through trains from London to Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon are being withdrawn next month. The direct service to Warminster is being reduced to just one a day. Other service reductions by both South Western Railway and Great Western Railway next month effect Tisbury, Grateley, Salisbury, Dilton Marsh and Westbury. Most of the trains withdrawn have been very busy and offer through journey opportunities, journey time choices and crowd-busting capacity into Clapham Junction and Waterloo, into Bath Spa and Bristol, and on journeys within the county. For example, seven services are lost from Salisbury to Warminster and on via Westbury, each day.

There has been no consultation on the changes. and a strong letter of protest has been sent formally by Wiltshire Council amongst many other complainants, who see this as a perverse step. It’s an odd thing to do at a time when people should be encouraged to use greener public transport in lieu of private cars where appropriate. With Wiltshire’s Bus Service Improvement Plan looking to improve connections from the buses (which provide a lifeline in many of our parishes) into our trains, it’s not much good if the trains people want are not there!

I would like to ask you even at this 11th hour to write to your MP. There is a template letter at

http://www.passenger.chat/mpletter.html .
And I would like to ask you to take a look at, and sign if they agree, a petition running at
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598397.
We have over 6,000 signatures already and the depth of feeling is being noticed.

We only found out about the cuts from deep inside a document from another area, about plans for 2023 which said services from our area would be gone by then and were not up for discussion! A Freedom of Information, answered last month, last month, shows an internal decision on minimal data and has large sections redacted.  They would appear to refer to other services under threat, but we don’t know which they are. Whilst there ARE services that could cease to run, it would be a dangerous precedent to allow them to go without local input – so even if you and your parish are not directly affected by this current cut, please consider signing to help us avoid an easy precent being set for the culling of train and bus services at the behest of “Whitehall”.

There’s much more information available online at

http://www.passenger.chatand an up to date (well, yesterday!)
summary at
http://waterloo.savethetrain.org.uk/stat_20211122.pdf .
Please feel free to pass this email on, and to get in touch by email to ask any questions.

And, thank you, for giving this matter your attention.

Graham

Graham Ellis – graham@wellho.net
01225 708225 or 0797 4 925 928
48, Spa Road, Melksham, SN12 7NY
* Co-ordinating on behalf of six rail user groups
* Vice Chair Melksham Transport User Group
* Webmaster at Coffee Shop forum (http://www.passenger.chat)
* Melksham Town Councillor for South Ward

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Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council