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Author Topic: Swindon and Wiltshire Rail Strategy - Study / SWLEP  (Read 144 times)
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« on: January 15, 2019, 05:20:37 pm »

Very surprised to find I hadn't posted this in August ... but there was a lot going on

Date: 24 August 2018 07:41:32 WEST
To: ***

Dear ***,

Please find following response on behalf of the Melksham Rail User Group to your Swindon and Wiltshire Rail Study.

Please could you confirm receipt of this email, and add us to your contact list for ongoing work as appropriate.

I understand that other proposals involving rail - such as Devizes Parkway - may be submitted to you. Please note that the suggestions below complement / enhance / back up other suggestions that we are aware will be submitted, rather than competing with them and we look forward to seeing these very effective plans which will bring significant comic benefit to Wiltshire - and far wider - being progressed to fruition.

We have a great deal more data available which may be of help, but noted that you start with a simple spread sheet requirement for a small amount of headline data.


Contact Details / Editor of this response:  Vice Chair - Graham Ellis -, 48 Spa Road, Melksham, SN12 7NY, 01225 708225 or 0797 4 925 928

Enhance Railway Infrastructure along the Swindon - Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Westbury corridor
Mechanism may include redoubling of line from Thingley Junction (Chippenham) to Bradford Junction (Trowbridge) or provision of dynamic loops north and south of Melksham
Mechanism may include reinstatement of 4th platform at Westbury and 3rd platform (to double as a bi-directional lay-by) at Chippenham
May include enhancement of local station access facilities at Melksham  - where station is in the back of an industrial estate with limited access
Limited enhancements outside the Swindon - Westbury section may be advantageous - for example some resignalling at Salibsury station to allow platform 1 to be brought back into passenger use
(Linked suggestion - provision of Station with Park and Ride facilities to the west of Swindon - Royal Wootton Bassett or Hullavington)
(Linked suggestion - provision of Station with Park and Ride facilities to the west of Salisbury - Stonehenge and Witon)

Objectives:    To enable
An increase to in regional passenger services calling at all five stations - initially to hourly and extended to Salisbury and the Solent Area, and to Oxford and beyond on East West Rail
Increased stone traffic from the Mendip quarries, including new traffic to service HS2 construction
Removal of output product from Westbury track panel production plant to be set up initially for HS2 to the line under construction (perhaps incoming materials too?)
Provision of alternative route for freight from Southampton to the Midlands and North avoiding Winchester, Basingstoke and Reading
Provision of route to Quidhampton quarry for landfill from HS2 construction
Provision of robust diversionary route from Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and the far west to Reading and London when rail line through Newbury is closed or overcrowded

In each case, these objective in immediate railway terms give rise to significant economic benefit in the areas served and beyond.   The towns along the route are all growing and the railway service on a currently low capacity line (1.5 trains each way per hour) has been the fastest growing in the South West, but is constrained and will become more so as freight pressures increase.   Passenger flows from residential areas to the south west of Chippenham to Swindon and also to Oxford,  Passenger flows from Swindon, Chippenham, and Melksham to Southampton including Southampton Airport - direct trains to airport station within next 2 years (every 2 hours) up to hourly by 2022. Tourism with Stonehenge station (less than 15 minute bus ride)  train services relieving pressures on site and allowing more visitors - also relieving pressures on Salisbury.   

Impact Area:
Oxford, Swindon, Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury, Salisbury.  ALSO from Yeovil
Somerset, Devon and Cornwall to London (passenger train diversions)
Southampton Docks, Midlands, North of England (freight corridor)
HS2 and other construction projects - London to Leeds and beyond;  Westbury  and Salisbury areas within Wiltshire.

Three to five years for works to be in use.  Not actually all that much to be done … with massive returns.

Attachment 1 - Map showing traffic sources and destinations
Attachment 2 - Similar map in geographic context

To the South West
Green 1 - passenger flows Frome, Taunton and beyond
Green 2 - passenger flows Yeovil, Dorchester and Weymouth
Green 3 - passenger flows Stonehenge, Salisbury, Southampton Central, Southampton Airporrt
Green 4 - South West to London (diversion route) flows
Blue 1 and Blue 2 - Mendip Quarries (stone)
Blue 3 - Quidhampton (spoil / landfill)
Blue 4 - Southampton Docks (containers; various goods)
Blue 5 - Westbury (Track panels)

To the North East
Green 11 - Oxford, Midlands, North
Green 12 - Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford, beyond
Green 13 - Reading and London
Green 14 - South West to London (diversion route) flows
Blue 11 - via East / West rail to northern home counties
Blue 12 - via Banbury to Midlands and north of England

On line
Red 21 - Swindon (current stations)
Red 22 - Chippenham
Red 23 - Melksham
Red 24 - Trowbridge
Red 25 - Westbury
Grey 31 - Royal Wootton Bassett (suggested)

32 page draft study published, and I'll be at a briefing tomorrow. Mirror at

The Swindon & Wiltshire Rail Study has been commissioned by SWLEP to provide an updated evidence base and framework for directing SWLEP’s investment in rail enhancements
It will also provide evidence and guidance to support the unitary authorities in formulating revisions of their Local Plans and Local Transport Plans.
The study is divided in to two parts, the first phase deals with evidence gathering, and identifying service options for development.
The second phase will prioritise options for development and set out how they might be delivered.
This document summarises the current position of the work and the emerging findings.

The main aims and objectives of the study are to:
• Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current and committed rail provision in the area
• Understand the gaps in provision and identify how these might be addressed
• Identify and evidence short, medium and long term opportunities for investment
• Understand the impact of changes to the network beyond the local area
• Examine how rail can support the growth of the SWLEP economy
• Ensure rail is part of the place-shaping agenda for Swindon and Wiltshire, and examine its role in supporting access to opportunities
• Identify a symbiotic relationship between rail and the growth of the SWLEP area

Report is on the link (above). I will follow up with comment at a later point - leave the reader to have a look through for now without me pre-colouring it.

Coffee Shop Admin, Member of Melksham Rail User Group, on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest and some more things besides
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 06:57:05 pm »

Yes, some of the items in that. I have already talked about in other threads. Like the two tracks for Melksham. All we are waiting for now is somebody to put a bomb under NR to get them started.
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 08:35:35 pm »

Yes, some of the items in that. I have already talked about in other threads. Like the two tracks for Melksham. All we are waiting for now is somebody to put a bomb under NR to get them started.

I think the process for agreeing improvement projects is a bit more complicated than that.  NR can't do any such enhancement work without getting agreement from the government these days. (A bit like it was in BR days I gather.) Which will first need a jolly good business case with various options costed out and the support of lots of different groups to confirm that it's worth doing. And if the purse strings are tight it might still not get approval.
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