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 to DfT 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:http://www.grahamellis.co.ukhttp://www.wellho.nethttp://www.wellhousemanor.co.ukYes - 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 www.firstgreatwestern.info
. 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.
Melksham, 5th February 2007.