Passengers urged to use Swindon/Westbury link as more trains are put on
THIS weekend will see an increase in the number of train services between Swindon and Westbury thereby increasing the connectivity of Wiltshire.
For a number of years there have only been two trains each day between the stations but there will now be eight.
Wiltshire Council has agreed to subsidise the extra trains, allowing people to both get into the town easier as well as see what the rest of the county has to offer.
First Great Western is running the line until 2015, at which point the subsidy will run out. If at that stage the service has not been proved to be financially viable, then whoever is controlling the line beyond this point will no longer run it.
Graham Ellis, of the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, said it is vital people use the extra services so it can be kept.
He said: “It’s a case of use it or lose it.
“After the period of the subsidy finishes, there has to be sufficient level of demand for it to continue.
“We’re absolutely delighted though that the service is up and running and if past experience is anything to go by demand shouldn’t be a problem.
“In 2011 we ran extra trains for one day and they were packed. That’s with some people saying they hadn’t heard about the extra service so I’m quite confident this will be well used.”
Wiltshire Council is putting more than £4 million into the route after receiving money from the Department of Transport.
It is hoped the extra routes will make Swindon more accessible for commuters and shoppers but also make it easier for residents of the town to explore the rest of the county.
Graham said: “It’s a great opportunity for everyone, whether they live in Swindon or not.
“People can come into Swindon to use the Outlet Centre or the Steam Museum for example or even come in to work.
“Previously the two routes ran at very inconvenient times so for many people it wasn’t an option.
“Over the summer months especially I expect it to get very busy as people in Swindon can see what Wiltshire has to offer as well as having a more direct route to the south coast.”
A single ticket from Westbury to Swindon will cost £13.40 and an anytime day return £17.60.
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “These improvements to rail services are part of the Connecting Wiltshire project funded by our successful bid for a £4.5m Government grant to improve sustainable transport in Wiltshire.
“Connecting Wiltshire and the range of exciting forthcoming improvements including enhancing cycle paths and the introduction of a state-of-the-art online travel portal, which will help people plan journeys, is great news for our communities.”
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