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Author Topic: TransWilts 2021 timetable ...  (Read 195 times)
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« on: November 19, 2020, 01:07:26 pm »

TransWilts December 2020 to May 2021 timetable - almost identical to the service we started with in December 2019, which is a darned sight better than it might have been

But then our timetabled services have been so thin that the removal of even a single train leaves a huge gap (the half past five to quarter to nine evening gap off Swindon that we have until Decemeber is being plugged) and our passenger numbers, while way on down on last year, are not decimated to quite the same degree as elsewhere.

The first Sunday train is replaced by a bus through the winter - but timetabled; pragmatically far better than nothing, and MRUG will provide community support to help ensure people know about it (and don't wait on the platform while the bus calls out of eyesight on Station Approach!).   I had my fingers crossed as to how regulars would take this ... first feedback ... "Excellent news. Yes I see Bristol been badly affected. The first service is still being used even in lock down times"

Statement ( MRUG ... prepared at the start of current lockdown ... signed off by GWR)

During lockdown from 5th November 2020 to 2nd December travel is restricted.  You can find details on the Government website However, GWR have advised that they are not anticipating any timetable changes. This means that all trains which have been running recently will continue to do so. The one remaining gap in provision from the timetable planned for 2020 before Coronavirus hit us is the evening gap of over three hours. Nasty for people who miss the 17:36 train home.

From 14th December 2020 to May 2021 (and potentially through the rest of 2021), Great Western Railway will have a new timetable.  It has been developed with the Department for Transport and Network Rail and will bring weekday timetables across the network back to around 98% of the May 2019 timetable.  To allow for increased improvement work, especially around Bristol for the Bristol East junction remodelling and on the Didcot/Oxford corridor, and in recognition of the backlog in driver training due to Covid, GWR are proposing a later Sunday start up, and earlier Saturday closure on some routes.   

MRUG, TransWilts, GWR and others have been working closely over the past couple of months to help ensure that the still-reduced general services for 2021 do not leave a gap. This needed to bear in mind the already-infrequent nature of our trains, yet still provide a service that runs and is reliable to a timetable.

As a result, GWR plan an additional service on Mondays to Fridays in each direction which will extend the service northbound, and will plug the southbound gap. A big relief for people who work in Swindon and can't be sure of being back at the station for the 17:36.

On Sunday mornings, the 08:11 from Warminster and Westbury to Swindon (08:37 at Melksham) which built up a healthy clientele will still run, but probably as a bus rather than a train during the winter. The journey will take longer, but the need to ensure a good connection onwards from Chippenham into Swindon (if the bus only goes to Chippenham) is known at the timetable planning level, so that we should have a practical, useful service start at around the same time as at present, and in both directions.

The MRUG officers have offered to have a volunteer able to inform and help at Melksham Station on Sunday mornings through the period that the train is replaced by a bus, and to promote the service which will offer an opportunity for days out subject to government regulations, as well as work travel.

A word of caution - none of the parties involved have a crystal ball to know with certainly what will happen with coronavirus and its effects into next year, and plans and timetables remain subject to late changes in a way we didn't see before 2020.

And a note of thanks to all involved at GWR and elsewhere through this year and onto planning for next - it has not been easy, won't be easy or ideal, but the train service has been and will continue to be a lifeline.

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 10:02:57 am »

I have produced draft timetables for the MRUG brochure -  see which is at present a "Transport Scholars only" thread while final discussions complete on what should and shouldn't be included (which connections to show) and until closer to the time these tines become current.

Others involved who are not "Transport Scholars" - please send me a message to be added in if you wish; not really secret stuff, but want to avoid people turning up for trains that are not yet running!

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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