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16  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: 20th October 2021 - Special Rail Users meeting, Trowbridge, on "The Waterloos" on: October 14, 2021, 11:58:09 am
Lamb to the slaughter? Tongue

Now - what or who be the lamb??

1. The through train services from Waterloo to Trowbridge, Bradford-on-Avon, Oldfield Park and Keynsham, which are supposed to cease from 12th December?

2. The campaigners who are going to be told "what for" and will have spent a lot of time, but still lose the service?

It can't be ...

3. SWR» (South Western Railway - about) and the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) - can't be them, because no slaughter is sought. We are looking for positive outcomes with a sensible, affordable, useful, appropriate continuing service and the intent of the meeting is to help everyone ease the wheels that way.
17  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: 20th October 2021 - Special Rail Users meeting, Trowbridge, on "The Waterloos" on: October 14, 2021, 08:36:09 am

Actually, Government is responding at 2,000 (in less than a week) - sending someone to our 20th October meeting. The $64,000 question is whether that response will be explanation, excuse, or something much more encouraging.
18  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / "No tickets available" - Melksham to Didcot on: October 14, 2021, 07:32:51 am
I am popping up to Didcot for a final hall check for our Saturday AGM (Annual General Meeting) today - popped to the GWR (Great Western Railway) site to get my ticket ...

Oh dear ... I'm going to make the journey anyway as I suspect tickets WILL be available from the TVM (Ticket Vending Machine).  But this page doesn't seem to be exactly encouraging me to use the train, does it?  (lots more "no ticket available" rows shown - in fact the only train offered with a fare, until a few minutes ago, was the 07:20).
19  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Announcement of AGM to all members on: October 14, 2021, 06:20:15 am
By email unless members have specified not to receive such announcements.  Also here for archive.

Great Western Coffee Shop Forum - AGM (Annual General Meeting) and guest speaker Mark Hopwood, 16.10.2021, and petition to save direct Bristol to Waterloo service, meeting 20.10.2021

Dear Coffee Shop Forum Member,

1. You are cordially invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Great Western Coffee Ship Forum, to take place at the All Saints' Youth & Community Hall & All Saints' Church, Roman Place, Didcot, OX11 7ER at 14:30 (Coffee served beforehand) on Saturday, 16th October 2021, followed by an update from Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of Great Western Railway. The meeting will be a "hybrid" one and you are encouraged to join on Zoom should you prefer.  Meeting details are at . Zoom codes are additionally at the base of this email.

2. The Department for Transport has specified that the direct trains from Bristol, Keynsham, Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge to London (Waterloo) via Salisbury cease in December (2021). Please sign our government petition at asking that they continue running pending consultation and effective ongoing provision. Further details at . A public meeting will take place near the station in Trowbridge at 19:00 on Wednesday 20th October at 19:00 with representatives from the Department for Transport and from South Western Railway in attendance. for details.  Also on Zoom - codes at and additionally at the base of this email.

3. This email is sent to you as a registered member of the Great Western Coffee Shop forum. From our forum agreement and constitution at -  "The board owners may choose to email you very occasional news updates concerning the board and / or main subjects covered, but it's not anticipated that we'll do this more than a handful of times every year."  The forum has been running many years and whilst we have many long-standing members, we also have some who have not visited in a while.  If you are one of those, we would love to see you again; if you would like to de-register, though, please let me know.

I hope to see you on Saturday, next Wednesday, or on the forum. Our membership is our strength - thank you for being a Coffee Shop member. Please share our details with friends and colleagues too. We are, as the saying goes, "open all hours".

And finally, a big thank you to the team of admins and moderators who keep the forum up and running.  Quite simply, without them, and without you, we would not have a forum.


Graham Ellis -
01225 708225 or 0797 4 925 928
48, Spa Road, Melksham, SN12 7NY
* Webmaster at Coffee Shop forum
* Melksham Town Councillor for South Ward
* Vice Chair Melksham Transport User Group

(Zoom codes mentioned in email are to be found on individual threads here and are not included in this record email)
20  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: 20th October 2021 - Special Rail Users meeting, Trowbridge, on "The Waterloos" on: October 14, 2021, 05:28:09 am
I have edited the top post in this thread to add the Zoom code:

Representatives of the Department for Transport and South Western Railway will be present and speaking.

Seems appalling when Trowbridge is the Wiltshire county town. I would have thought the council would be shouting loudly?

Their response to the 2022 consultation, which included the announcement (not consultation) of the December 2021 cuts, was strongly worded. Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member - Transport, Waste, Street Scene & Flooding, wrote:

The recent publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is welcomed. It places much more emphasis on a customer focus and the need to ensure that railway organisational structure does not impede progress. Prepared in a time of pandemic, the plan nevertheless clearly states the Government’s intention to increase passenger numbers, support tourism and revive high streets and cities.

It is therefore with some alarm that I see the message of the Plan being undermined so soon by a failure to maintain the very services that need nurturing to support discretionary travel; services that don’t fit neatly into the way the railway has been historically organised. This authority is trying to meet some of its local objectives by developing new rail markets: stations and routes. It needs confidence (as do rail users) that the objectives of the Williams-Shapps Plan will be delivered across the whole nation.

and within the five page response:

Remarkably, it has been suggested that withdrawal of the Salisbury-Bristol leg of services from Waterloo will provide rolling stock needed to strengthen services on the “core route” to Exeter (on which route, it is recalled, services between Salisbury and Yeovil are being cut). If leisure travel, and services in the South West are having capacity problems – and evidence suggests they are – then it is perverse to consider withdrawing services that provide links on a corridor with excellent tourism potential. One suspects that the Bristol route has the higher catchment population and that the “core service” label attached to the Exeter route owes its existence to railway history and the inertia that preserves traditional railway service operating boundaries. This is unacceptable.


Cuts to the Waterloo-Bristol through services should not be implemented until adequate mitigation measures have been implemented or other ways of reducing costs (for example by sharing traincrew with GWR (Great Western Railway)) are investigated.
21  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: AGM - 16th October 2021 - at Didcot, with guest speaker Mark Hopwood on: October 14, 2021, 04:53:32 am
I have edited this thread to add Zoom codes for Saturday in the top message. For completeness and to "ping" members who may not spot them, here they are again.  Exceptionally, I will be sending an email to all members too in the next few hours which will include the same links.

Topic: Coffee Shop - Annual review and AGM (Annual General Meeting)
Time: Oct 16, 2021 02:30 PM London

Topic: Coffee Shop - Guest Speaker Mark Hopwood
Time: Oct 16, 2021 03:00 PM London

The meeting will be a hybrid one, and I look forward to welcoming those member who choose to attend in person at Didcot too.
22  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Staff reductions - London Area on: October 13, 2021, 10:05:35 pm
From My London

(Selective quoting here for comment)

The association of train operators, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG(resolve)), says that peak hours travel on railway lines into and out of London and across the UK (United Kingdom) is not just supressed but will not return to pre-pandemic levels despite leisure and weekend travel booming once again. It's currently stuck at around 65 per cent of 2019's figures.

It means that all the extra staff needed at peak hours to manage the larger passenger flows will not be required. The exact figure is estimated to be in the thousands given that the 11 affected train operators in the capital employ 35,802 people according to the ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) (some are based outside London).

For now though, the two train companies operated under contract to Transport for London (TfL» (Transport for London - about)), London Overground and TfL Rail, pas well as Southeastern which is currently in the process of being taken over by the government will be spared.

The likely targets for job cuts are most likely to be platform, ticket office and customer service employees as other positions will still need to work the same number of hours. Drivers union ASLEF» (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen - about) estimates that 5,000 drivers are set to retire in the next five years anyway, allowing train companies to cut jobs by not backfilling posts instead of forcing any drivers out.

The 11 London train operators which are looking to cut jobs:
Avanti West Coast
Caledonian Sleeper
Chiltern Railways
East Midlands Railway
Greater Anglia
GTR (Thameslink plus Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express)
GWR (Great Western Railway)
LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about)
London Northwestern Railway
SWR» (South Western Railway - about)
23  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed on: October 13, 2021, 09:32:13 pm
How we're getting on ...

24  Journey by Journey / TransWilts line / Re: 2021 - TransWilts cancellation and amendment log on: October 13, 2021, 08:13:51 pm
I think I missed the original break ... just seen the repair!

20:06 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 22:05
20:06 Westbury to Cheltenham Spa due 22:05 will now run as scheduled.
Further Information
25  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed on: October 13, 2021, 09:09:42 am
From my Melksham blog at - where I have mentioned this campaign for the first time:


Transport changes - e-Scooters are legally available for hire in Bath. Next month, the railway line to Okehampton re-opens for regular passenger trains for the first time since 1972. And in December, Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon look set to LOSE their through train service from London.

Time passes, positive and planned changes are welcome, but withdrawing the though London trains to our county town, at a time when people are returning from Covid onto the trains, and at a time we want to encourage more use, without providing an adequate alternative and without public consultation is just - well - it just defies belief! These trains have always been popular and have become full and standing at times, again, on Covid return. Logic is to leave them in place for a further year, at which point extra "MetroWest" trains are running and the can be end-to-end joined to continue a regular, clock-face, strategic, attractive service.

The question comes "why are they being withdrawn". Different people give different stories. A Freedom of Information request has been stalled by the Department for transport while they do a "complex public interest" test, and that has me wondering what they want to hide. My personal view is that the Department for Transport wants to save money and thought removal of this service would be a soft target - not realising how busy it is, how popular it is. They also appear to be setting a precedent of not consulting - even their own watchdog says they should.

Over the last week, I have been helping co-ordinate the West Wilts Rail User Group, Two Tunnels, Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, Railfuture (Severnside Branch) TravelWatch Southwest, and the Coffee Shop forum to raise the profile of these services. Melksham retains all its train services in December - we are lucky - but we should support others as they have supported us in the past. And in any case, the trains being withdrawn are ones we connect into.

When we ask "why are they being withdrawn", we are sometimes told "because more trains are needed in Devon".  To me, that looks like a bit of an excuse; with the local Salisbury terminating at Basingstoke for 2022, and other services reduced, I don't see quite how the numbers add up (or subtract) to that.  Okehampton's being run by GWR (Great Western Railway), anyway, isn't it?
26  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Where was Red Squirrel - 11 Oct 2021 on: October 12, 2021, 12:24:35 pm
A branch from Kemble, per chance?
27  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed on: October 12, 2021, 11:18:15 am
1470 signatures. When Graham said he intended to start a parliamentary petition, I laughed. I'm not laughing now.

Petitions are a "risk" in my view and can show just how few people are interested, as well as how many are. And they need to be a stepping stone, and not just a safety value through which the community can vent its feelings before the show moves on anyway.

Looking at the three constituencies that lose ALL their through trains from London:
South West Wiltshire (Trowbridge station) Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP (Member of Parliament) - 422 signatures
Chippenham (Bradford-on-Avon station) Michelle Donelan MP - 386 signatures
Bath   (Oldfield Park station) Wera Hobhouse MP - 111 signatures

Also look at the constituency that is reduced to one train per day to and from London:
North East Somerset (Keynsham) Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP - 87 signatures

Now - government petitions are NATIONAL things and we have an issue here which has potential national repercussions (if they can withdraw direct London services to Trowbridge, could they withdraw them from Chester, Bradford, Lincoln, Inverness, Carmarthen, Corrour and many other places too?). However, it manifests itself locally and so we have essentially a campaign that needs to be LOCAL and that does not make it easy to even approach national petition target such as 10,000 to even get an answer, or 100,000 to be considered (!) for a debate.   But hang on a moment - let's look at that another way.

I'll take Michelle's constituency as an example, as that's where I live.

It takes an average of 15.3 signatures per constituency to trigger a government response.  Michelle has had 25 times that number of signatories since last Friday

It takes an average of 153 signatures per constituency to trigger consideration for a debate..  Michelle has had 2.5 times that number of signatories, and that since last Friday.

The figures for Dr Andrew Murrison are even more striking!

It would really be a rather good idea for them to have the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) take a look at the decision and see if they can find a solution - and we have petitioned in such a way to leave a forward looking solution staring them in the face.   The community could get what it wants, the MPs boost their popularity rating, the government gets brownie points for listening, and hopefully, next time there will be consultation so we don't have to go through this sort of thing again.

Shucks - do I need to edit the figures?  Up from 1470 to 1511 since you posted, Mark A

28  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: South Western Railways Waterloo - Bristol services axed on: October 12, 2021, 10:50:45 am
This morning, I have emailed Wiltshire and Town Councillors in the towns in the county that are affected - a tailored letter for each town.   Here's an example

An open letter to Trowbridge elected representatives (MP (Member of Parliament), Unitary Councillors, Town Councillors)

Dear Sir / Madam

After 10th December 2021, there will no longer be any through trains at all from London to Trowbridge, unless there is a late change of plans. The Saturday service (which was often full and standing) ceased last Saturday, with Sunday and Monday to Friday services run by South Western Railway ceasing in the lead up to Christmas

What an astonishing way to treat our growing county town, at a time when we are being encouraged to use public transport more for climate, clean air, congestion and other reasons.

May I draw your attention to the petition I have created at asking the Department for Transport to leave the service in place through 2022, pending consultation and the provision of acceptable alternatives. This approach is recommended by Transport Focus, the Department for Transport's own passenger watchdog.

Please sign the petition. Please pass it on to friends and colleagues. Please raise the matter with the councils on which you sit. Wiltshire Council is the "Local Transport Authority" with legal responsibilities, and the Town Council has a great deal of influence too in matters such as this which relate to the economy, well being of the town, and local environmental issues too.

There is a great deal more written at and user stories at

There is a public meeting in Trowbridge on 20th October 2021 - near the station, of course, and connecting with the train in question for those from other towns involved. Also on Zoom - code will be at and there's a meeting poster at and at .

You may ask "why did you, Graham, create this petition - you don't even live in Trowbridge". This is not just a Bradford-on-Avon issue, and someone, somewhere needed to alert people in Keynsham, Oldfield Park, Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge and Warminster all of whom loose all (or all but one early morning) though trains from London. To alert people in Bristol and Bath who loose their through trains from south London, and Westbury who are down to just one train from South London, leaving Waterloo before 8 a.m. *Someone* had to put their individual name to it. It's a service I use (connecting in at Trowbridge from the x34c bus) and I know a lot of the people involved too - so I start from more insight to the case better than many.

The meeting on 20th October is promoted by the West Wilts Rail User Group, Railfuture (Severnside), the Two Tunnels project, Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, The Coffee Shop Passenger Forum, and TravelWatch SouthWest (TWSW» (TravelWatch SouthWest - website)) - groups along the line and in the region coming together.

The objective of the petition and meeting has to be to get a MORE APPROPRIATE DECISION IMPLEMENTED and not just to "raise a stink" after which we roll over quietly. The Department for Transport and SWR» (South Western Railway - about)'s MD have already given (various different (!)) explanations that, frankly, don't hold much water and are based on poor, outdated, and even wrong data, and there's an easy solution, with the first step already recommended by their own watchdog. So the petition and meeting are a step in a process - the outcome sought is the service running 5 trains each way per day (as it was at the start of last year) for 2022, and for 2023 probably a train every hour or two, with the new houlry trains planned for that year on MetroWest extending beyond West Wilts to Salisbury where it becomes the London, Brighton or Romsey train. Forward looking, green, sustainable economically, good for Trowbridge and very much in line with the Great British Railway agenda.

Please do feel free to get in touch with any questions, to forward this email, to come to the meeting (limited physical space, but a very big zoom meeting I expect), to write to your MP (sorry, Andrew!). Thank you for your help, and I look forward to seeing you on the train next year!


Graham Ellis -
01225 708225 or 0797 4 925 928
48, Spa Road, Melksham, SN12 7NY
* Well House Consultants Ltd
* Webmaster at Coffee Shop forum
* Melksham Town Councillor for South Ward
* Vice Chair Melksham Transport User Group

Each of the four letters published on Facebook - each town has its local groups, so there's no one size fits all there.  Example:
29  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 / Re: Patterns of returning passengers? on: October 12, 2021, 09:35:12 am
Travelled past Didcot and the car park seemed to be nothing but a (Ghost Town)

Very patchy ... at Keynsham yesterday (during the day) the car park was quite busy, but passing over the bridge by Melksham Station the car park looked empty. To complete the story, I did not observe the parking at Bath Spa, and I don't think that there IS parking at Oldfield Park.

Loss of car parking numbers does not necessarily correlate with loss of passenger numbers.  Personal observation at Melksham, where only between 10% and 20% of passengers pre-covid drove themselves to the station, suggests that the walkers / cyclists have come back close to original levels, whereas people in their cars are, perhaps, driving to other stations with a better train service or driving all the way to their final destination.  Perhaps that's mirrored by the Didcot reports?
30  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Where was I today? on: October 12, 2021, 07:24:39 am
Everyone correct - Bath Spa, Oldfield Park and Keynsham, taking a look at how "The Waterloo" is doing so that I can be accurate in what I say, and with up to date pictures of the train at these stations. I will be sharing some thoughts - but not on "The Lighter Side" because the threat to this service is far from a light topic.   If you have not yet signed up to support it continuing in 2022, rather than summarily cut without consultation in 9 weeks time, please do so at - my official government petition.
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