Rail passengers are being urged to fight for the survival of the newly-expanded TransWilts train service, after a government consultation suggested it could be reduced.

The increased service from Westbury to Swindon, which also serves Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham, was launched in December, and has seen a substantial rise in passengers.

However, a document published by the Department for Transport setting out details of the entire Great Western franchise area has prompted fears from rail users that the service could be reduced.

Graham Ellis, president of the Melksham Chamber of Commerce, who campaigned for the extra trains, said: “They’re working out who is to run the line from the end of next year, and how many trains they will need.

“It isn’t clear in the description, but potentially we would be back down from eight to 16 trains each way.”

The proposed reduction would take place as trains are allocated elsewhere following the electrification of the Great Western main line from London to Cardiff.

Mr Ellis said: “We are now starting up a campaign to get people to write in and say ‘please maintain the current level’.

“We have seen it grow from 50 passenger journeys to 350 a day, it’s making a very real difference for many people.

“This is similar to the 2005 consultation, which first resulted in some of the trains being lost, but this time we will not have the same old battles, and will get a lot of input and be able to do something about it.

“I would encourage everyone who wants to see the service go from strength to strength to write in and give their comments on the consultation.”

For more information about the consultation and the proposed changes, see www.railcustomer.info