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Author Topic: Rail User Group, Chippenham  (Read 1128 times)
grahame
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« on: June 21, 2017, 08:16:22 AM »

In answer to a press enquiry ..



Dear Jessica,

I believe you’re correct in your assertion that there is no rail user group dedicated to Chippenham Station.  Which is a bit of a surprise as (mile for mile) peak Chippenham to London fares are amongst the most expensive in the UK, and engineeringworkwise it’s just about the most prone to weekend changes of any station.   Full credit to the GWR staff team at Chippenham who do an excellent job of looking after passenger; user groups tend to be set up where the local community feels disconnected from the railway serving it.

Engineering works at weekends are nothing new.   What’s new for Chippenham is a 9 day closure of the line from Chippenham to Swindon which includes the week of Monday 11th to Friday 14th July.  Over those five days, trains will be running from Chippenham to Bath and Bristol, and from Chippenham to Westbury - the most direct route to London all the way by train will be via Westbury, the most frequent by dogleg via Bath Spa.  And extra buses will be running direct from Chippenham Station to Swindon Station, accepting rail tickets and much faster that Stagecoach service 55.  I’m waiting to here from GWR as to whether these will be low floor buses that can take wheelchairs; there’s no legal requirement on them to do so, as they’re not a public scheduled bus service, and I really hope that any passengers with mobility problems don’t get put on the slower 55!

There is an excellent case for a user group for Chippenham - not in protest in any way, but to help in the provision of feedback to the train operator, and perhaps too to assist with volunteers helping (for example) with making the station even more welcoming; I was there for a meeting the other day, and we were asked “wouldn’t it look good with hanging baskets” on the spare platform.

At TransWilts, we have responsibilities for the occasional (up to 9 trains per day) services that leave Chippenham for Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury - and that became official a couple of months back when the minister for rail visited us to confirm this as a “designated service”.  The designation doe not include the express trains which call at Chippenham 4 times an hour - however, they are very much on the TranWilts radar as our constitution describes “journeys to, from and within Wiltshire” as our area of operation.   Our designation does include Chippenham Station as a “designated station” so we are probably best placed to looking to set up such a group; we already have very strong ties with the Melksham Rail User Group - indeed I am vice chair as I live in the town - so we have some experience to go on.

I would very much hope to be back in tough with you about helping set up a user group (including sponsoring a meeting) soon after the summer holidays - in the meantime, I would welcome people getting in touch so I can keep them informed.  I have taken an arbitrary date of Thursday, 14th September for people to “pencil in” and will add that as an event date on the TransWilts Facebook page.

I’m away this week at a training session … (travelled by train, of course) …. I will try to call you during the day / during a break to fill you in further / answer any questions

Graham

Graham Ellis - grahamellis@transwilts.org
Community Rail Officer, TransWilts Community Rail Partnership
A division of the TransWilts Community Interest Company (CIC)
http://www.transwilts.org  - 0845 459 0153 / 01225 708225



Any members who would like to help setting up a Chippenham group, please let me know!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 12:06:15 PM »

Just had a meeting with GWR re accessible transport for the Oxford blockade, so asked the Q for you by email for Chippenham. Unsure as to response time as my contact starts a leave period tomorrow, but am hopeful
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