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Journey by Journey => TransWilts line => Topic started by: grahame on January 25, 2019, 08:37:59 am

Title: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on January 25, 2019, 08:37:59 am
Passenger journey numbers at Melksham Station have risen from around 3,000 per annum to around 75,000 per annum over the past few years - but that is still a long way short of the sort of level seen at other stations in Wiltshire serving other market towns. It's several years since a passenger survey was conducted to help inform everyone ( community / rail industry / local government ) and a survey of departing passengers is planned to take place on Tuesday 5th February 2019.   It's being 'fronted' bt the Melksham Rai User Group (and I'm the co-ordinator) but with support / assistance from partners - much of the background was set in place at the Rail User Group meeting on Wednesday at which both Wiltshire Council and TransWilts were present.

Please let me know (email graham @ if you're not logged in here to send me a forum message) if you ara available and would like to help. We plan to have volunteers at Melksham Station for every train that calls right through the day, and each 'shift' will comprise a lead person with prior experience and (we hope) a newcomer so if you've not done it before you won't be on your own.  It's rewarding and informative to hear what people have to say, and once people know why you're doing the survey, all bar a very few are happy to complete it.

As a result of previous surveys, everyone concerned has been able to help drive the development of Melksham Station forward - longer trains and longer platform last year - knowing what people want.  Current concerns are that we're running out of car parking and will have a problem if we don't do something but traffic continues to grow, that we want to deliver the right extre facilities, and that service enhancements should be in line with aspirations

See also for further details - through this initial post is on the Coffee Shop and it won't be on MRUG until the weekend.

Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 03, 2019, 07:42:13 am

Dear Melksham Rail User Group supporter,

Thank you to those of you who helped TransWilts with their major survey at Chippenham Station over the last week, and for indicating that you may be able to help with the Melksham Rail User Group survey at Melksham Station this coming Tuesday. I have left setting up the rotas until late in the day to avoid any confusion between the two events which - however - are to the same end of gathering data to help inform station and service development.

CAN YOU HELP? Please let me know if you can!

* Melksham Station, this Tuesday (5th Feb)
* Ideal shifts as follows, but volunteers for half shifts also wanted
* Don't worry if you've not done this before - 2 people on to "buddy" at all times
* I am aware that Melksham station can be brutally cold and will have flasks, etc

Early Morning   06:15 to 07:58
Mid Morning   08:57 to 10:11
Lunch Time   10:51 to 14:49
Afternoon   15:24 to 16:46
Evening   17:40 to 20:40

Please find initial (draft) paperwork [here] - I may do some late tuning of the questions and clarify volunteer guidance. The document explains why we are doing the surveys and includes samples of the volunteer (count) and survey forms.

You will find that the vast majority of people are happy to help when they know why we are curveying, and that it's a fun couple of hours working with / getting to know other vounteers. The nature of the Melksham train service, though, is that there are gaps. Perhaps that will change in future years.



The link to all the background sheets is to

Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: Reginald25 on February 03, 2019, 12:06:12 pm
Just to endorse Grahame request for supporters. It'll be a fun thing to do, and if your not a regular Melksham user, a chance to see our etxnded platform and the significant number of users at the station. Do contact Grahame and offer to help!

Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 05, 2019, 04:06:53 am
Do give us a wave if you're passing through on the train today or stop and say "hi" is you're using Melksham Station.

Updated newsletter we'll be handing out:

Forms and paperwork in case they're of use to other groups - surprising as you look at these just how much experience we have and how much goes into something like this!

Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 05, 2019, 02:13:47 pm
Survey and counts under way ... big THANK YOU to our volunteer team and to all the helpful passengers


Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 05, 2019, 09:19:08 pm
I am ... JUST ... home.   At Melksham Station from 06:15 until 20:45 - nothing like as bad as it sounds because I did a split shift helping with the early trains where lots of people are leaving, and the final train in the cold wet evening.    Fantastic to meet so many service users and to learn what it means for them.   

Our news feed elsewhere is filled with the GWR debate in parliament which has focused on things that haven't been going right, but what we find at Melksham is a service which, in spite of its foibles, makes the biggest difference to the daily lives of so many people.  For sure, there are some comments along the lines of "wouldn't it be nice if ..." and I will write up those tomorrow, but over all what a happy bunch of passengers.

And what a happy bunch of volunteers too. A job done well, a task clearly enjoyed and I already know that it has taught me and others some lessons - again to be shared in the write-ups.  Thank you everyone for making my day educational, and fun.

Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 06, 2019, 10:23:21 am - 2 hours an 10 minutes to 2 hours and 18 minutes - comments on the GWR franchise debate which turned into Melksham survey and promotion discussion. 

Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 10, 2019, 09:18:49 am
Initial analysis / counts show 111 departing passenger and 103 arriving on 5th February - almost all round trips, with an equal balance of single outbound and single inbound journeys.  The difference of 8 is accounted for by people who left during the day, but had to make other arrangements to get back because they had things to do beyond the last train to Melksham (19:32 from Westbury / 20:08 from Swindon).

A cool, grey day which turned into drizzle and then to rain. Some 85% of departing passengers completed our individual passenger survey, so we now have good data for use about their journeys to and from the station in Melksham, as well as being able to tie up round trips - looking beyond individual train loading to which outbound train ties in with which inbound. Lots of data entry to do; scheduled for the week after next as it's not as urgent as the initial data (which included car park counts) that was 'critical path' stuff for TransWilts.

I was especially struck by the number of passengers - interviewed as they left Melksham - who were unsure which service they would be retuning on.  This confirms our strong and successful campaign to have services at intervals all through the day rather than to meet specific flow. It also suggests that our passengers are prepared to significantly change their travel plans to suit return trains - "I'll catch the 15:18 if I can, but if still at work I'll do another couple of hours and catch the 17:36" ... for many, though, a 16:36 would be really useful, and indeed it would bring us a lot of new passengers - many is the job that may overshoot by a few minutes, but then having hang around for 2 hours ...

Suveryor on duty at 06:15 - before the very first passenger


Survey being kept organised - and as dry as possible


Title: Re: 5th Feb 2019 - Melksham Station Survey by Melksham Rail User Group
Post by: grahame on February 16, 2019, 04:46:46 pm
I have now entered the data gathered ... here are some informative / interesting outputs





There is a sanitised data set at - data granularity in that set reduced to protect against the possibility of systemic recognition of individuals. For GWR, Wiltshire Council and TransWilts readers full data can be provided, and I may well do some further extracting for MRUG too looking in particular at journeys to the station.

Other things of note ...

1. Many passengers were unsure of their return train - even between two trains two hours apart. This suggests to me that there are many others who would use the train if the return were more frequent.

2. In a similar vein to ( 1. ) - a significant number of people returning when to train was available (especially late) - taxis mentioned by several, lifts, and even someone taking their bike and cycling back

3. The number of people working less that 5 days a week is significant - full days, just not quite 5 of them!

4. Inbound traffic to work in Melksham - almost all at locations quite close to the station.  Rather confirms tome that if there were a proper transfer bus to the main employment area - which is about a mile and a half away - it would be used.   As that same bus would help no. 5 ... passengers in both directions

5. Astonishing how far people will walk to Melksham Station (that won't show up in the data I have published as it gets personal) - especial reference though to the Bowerhill area which is a gob of residence right next to a gob of employment.    Might not even need a special bus - just a stopping of the x72 and/or D3 at the station!

6. Surveys of destination station "London" are reported above as Paddington; Heathrow for does not include details of which terminal.

7. Information from member of staff at local business that the water supply to some premises (perhaps including the building planned as the Melksham Hub) may currently have a high lead content.  Also note to suggest TransWilts check if it's fully mains drained.

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