The first 9 months of 2020 have been like no other year! The Melksham Rail User Group became the station friends member of ACoRP in January as planned, and embarked on continued planning for the year, to be thrown off course by the lockdown of the Coronavirus in March. We found ourselves in the unknown territory of supporting public transport by telling people to stay at home is they could and not use it, and even as things started to open up in the last two months (writing September 2020), government advice o use private cars to get around has frightened people away, with public transport as something of a last resort.
Melksham Rail User Group has met online (via Zoom) during this time, with friends activities at stations suspended across the UK (the planter at Melksham has done very well, but the place as a whole could have done with a litter pick or two a bit of TLC). Carnivals, fetes and fayres largely suspended, and our local paper ceasing delivery - so again much of the activity has been online.
We are now at the point where some travel is possible ... safety has always been paramount, but with knowledge, facemasks and new cleaning regimes - and most services to/from Melksham have plenty of capacity for social distancing.
Current services are listed in our September newsletter ((here))
Some good has come from recent times. Online meetings, monthly newsletters, and developing relationships with partners should not be lost, as we have our work cut out moving forward to rebuild public transport use to, from and within Melksham both for our community and for the wider environment and climate too.
Our mission is to maintain and enhance facilities at Melksham station, and to act as an independent voice of the station users.
Melksham is served by up to 18 trains a day on the line from Swindon to Westbury via Chippenham and Trowbridge.
Melksham Railway Station was closed in “the Beeching Era” - 1966. It re-opened in 1985, with British Rail, local councils and passengers partnering to bring back at least a part of the facility that had been so missed in the area.
The Melksham Railway Development Group (MRDG) was a community group that has worked hard over the years to support the station, though sometimes when the service was so poor it looked like it was lost again, and indeed if it weren’t for MRDG, Melksham might not have a station or train service today. Five years ago, MRDG working with the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, persuaded Wiltshire Council to sponsor, the Department for Transport to fund and GWR to run a three year trial of addition trains, and they have been very successful – for the first time since its re-opening, Melksham now has sufficient trains for passenger numbers to have grown well, and although the group is still very much concerned with further development, it has been renamed the Melksham Rail User Group (MRUG)
Melksham Rail User Group runs on a small budget kindly funded by Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Councils, and our membership includes representatives of both organisations. Events such as the Santa trips are costed to break even - their main intent is to publicise and promote the station and trains that serve it; any profit made is ploughed back into group funds. All work done for "MRUG" by the members is on a voluntary basis, for which the group is grateful.
The Group is also a member of the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, supporting the use and growth of local and regional passenger train services on the Swindon to Westbury line via Chippenham, Melksham and Trowbridge, with service on to Dilton Marsh, Warminster and Salisbury. It is also a 'friend' of the Community Rail Network (formerly known as The Association of Community Rail Partnerships -ACoRP).
|4 Sept 20 / Car park - pay cash or phone in to RingGo 0203 046 0060 / location code 21575. ((details))|