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Author Topic: Campaign Update  (Read 1966 times)
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« on: July 25, 2007, 06:42:21 pm »

We are pressing the Department for Transport,  Wiltshire County Council, and First Great Western to provide an appropriate service.  They took a perfectly good (though not perfect) service last December, and between them slashed 60% of the trains, truncated the remaining few at Westbury and retimed them so that they run at new times which are less suitable for most travellers, but more suitable for their operational convenience.

The new level and timings were based on erroneous assumptions, and it's now widely admitted that the new service isn't working - I estimate that a 60% cut in trains has lead to a loss of 93% of the traffic, whereas the intent was that the least used trains be cut.

Three recent letters from my inbox, all received in the last few days

1. From Peter Painter, acting FGW (First Great Western) franchise manager at the DfT» (Department for Transport - about)
2. From Alison Forster, MD of First Great Western
3. From Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire County Council cabinet member for Transport

Thanks for your email - yes I am acting as FGW Franchise Manager until the end of September, when Peter West will return to the role.
I am aware that FGW have been looking at the timetabling of services on the route and are seeking to address the issues.
We will be having a meeting with them in the next week and I will be asking them for an update.

Peter Painter

Dear Graham

Thank you and the other members of the Railway Development Group for sending me your findings. We are always pleased to see rail travel promoted and there are some interesting points here that I have forwarded to Andrew Griffiths for consideration.

As you know we must first meet the Service Level Commitment and can then look to see if there are both commercial and practical solutions to the requests we receive for extra services. I am well aware of your feelings and know how important this is to you, but we cannot provide all the services people would like it see - even where we have survey information such as this.

I will make sure that you are informed as soon as we have the final draft of the timetable for December and thank you again for the survey and for your promotion of the line.


Alison Forster

Dear Mr Ellis
Thank you for your e-mail. The outcome of your survey has been noted and I would suggest that it is particularly valuable in that it demonstrates the popular local support for an improved service, especially to opinion formers and those with influence at the local level.
Here at the County Council there have been several meetings with First Great Western and one with Department for Transport Rail officers to move this issue forward. First Great Western have been exploring the possibility of an early improvement at little or no cost by providing extra journeys using the rolling stock and crews they have already got. Although this idea looked promising at first, they have not been able to find a way of doing it for December 2007. In any event this would not be a complete solution because the extra journeys would have to be at times when rolling stock and crews were not being utilised for other work, rather than at times to meet demand.
Although most attention up to now has been on the possibility of an early improvement as outlined above, First Great Western and DfT Rail are also prepared to work with us to re-examine the commercial potential of the route and the value for money that an improved level of service would bring to the franchise. This is a longer term project and certainly would not lead to a service improvement from December 2007, but does not rule out the deployment of additional resources and could lead to a service that better meets demand.
I hope the above is of interest.
Fleur de Rhe-Philipe

Coffee Shop Admin, Acting Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, Option 24/7 Melksham Rep
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