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News: the Great Western Coffee Shop ... keeping you up to date with travel around the South West
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Author Topic: Graham Ellis - Welcome to the First Great Western coffee shop  (Read 10771 times)
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« on: January 28, 2007, 09:19:40 »

Hello and welcome!

I've been campaigning for an appropriate passenger train service on the "TransWilts" line from Swindon via Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury on perhaps to Warmninster, Salisbury and beyond for some 18 months. But getting the railway world to take note of their customer base has proven to be incredibly frustrating!

This site has been set up for CUSTOMERS and WANNABE Customers of First Great Western so that they can exchange views, stories, suggestion - with the ultipmate objective of making positive feedback, actually having the customer listened to and heeded and perhaps coming up with a better rail service for us, and one that's better for the operator, the economy and the environment too.

Apart from being an FGW (First Great Western) customer, the opertors of this site have no links commercial links with the company

If you're reading this ... you've very early - I haven't even finished setting up yet.   But - you're very welcome, do join in and I'll try to avoid loosing any posts during testing!

- Graham


Coffee Shop Admin, Acting Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, Option 24/7 Melksham Rep
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2007, 16:07:17 »

Thankyou for your kind welcome - and glad to be here.

Something of this style of forum has been noticeably lacking for a while - there must be enough of us net savvy train users out there to make this place hum.

So thankyou for setting it up - I'll be watching - and posting with interest!

CJ Harrison
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2007, 22:42:35 »


Are you the guy featured in this week's Wiltshire Times? We always get it at school and I don't usually read it but, for some reason, I did today and I saw a piece on the petition and, I think, this website. If you are, well done - it's really great publicity!

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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2007, 07:20:50 »

A  column on page 9 under the headline "Steaming Ahead".    Under a much bigger piece on a campaign against road deaths.   Yes, that's me!  I should probably do a "bio" ...

Coffee Shop Admin, Acting Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, Option 24/7 Melksham Rep
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2007, 07:55:26 »

Hi, I'm Graham Ellis. I've been in the "IT" industry for 30+ years, and I live in Melksham, Wiltshire. I run specialist training courses here and many of my customers (or until last December, they came) by train - some local journeys from Swindon, South Wales, etc.  Many from London and other from places further afield including airport stations.  And a good proportion of my courses are held "on site" so I travel around - to London, to Oxford, and a variety of other journeys, none of which is a regular daily commute.   Where practical and cost effective, I use the train ... but I'm not against using the bus or car if they're a better option.

In the summer of '05, I saw a letter in the local press saying how the train service that my business relied upon was to be taken off at the end of '06, and that a minimal replacement service would be offered.  Consultation had already happened (I have SRA» (Strategic Rail Authority - about) to DfT» (Department for Transport - about) papers under Freedon of Information thet report discusssions of how to minimise the consultation) and we were told "too late", but never the less, you have to try, don't you?   And so started the "Save the Train" campaign.   

First objective - to get the powers that be to actually be AWARE of the "TransWilts" line.  Second objective - to give it serious consideration and work out what an appropriate service is. Third objective - to provide that service. Fourth objective - to support and sustain that service.

First objective, reasonably achieved.  Second - I think we're getting there. We had a long period of defensive tactics, referring back to ancient figures and decisons but I think - at last - we're moving forward.   Pity about the current service gap on the line, but we've now got a better-than-previous chance of getting a service back before Christmas.  I look forward to helping with objective No. 4!

On the personal side, you can read more about me on these links:

Yes - that last IS a hotel web site.  We've changed our business model, with the balance being tipped by the train service loss. I sit here on Monday morning no going down to meet the train from Swindon (which is too early and was cancelled anyway!) but with the smell of fresh bread from the kitchen, and with the sound of delegate who arrived yesterday stirring in their rooms.

It seems that I've run quite an effective campaign, and I've been asked to provide boards / information as it relates to other services.   And thus the site  The key players are the same across many lines and services, though the issues differ.  And I'm happy to host / monitor a site for the customer / passenger, with contributions by the customer / passenger.

It seems to me that the big voices that have influence are the Department for Transport with an apparent objective that's more financial than service based, and the First group who's main objective and responsibility is to their shareholders.   Perhaps we can help redress that just a little in the interest of balance and - for the future - to the mutual benefit of all parties.

Graham Ellis
Melksham, 5th February 2007.

Coffee Shop Admin, Acting Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, Option 24/7 Melksham Rep
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

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