All aboard to save thriving Wiltshire rail service
The campaign to preserve the TransWilts rail service is picking up steam, as politicians across the county get on board to oppose cuts to the service.
Concerns were raised last week over the future of the newly-expanded service from Westbury to Swindon, which also stops at Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham.
A franchise document prepared by the Department for Transport suggested the new trains introduced in December would be allocated elsewhere after electrification work on the Great Western mainline is completed.
Chippenham MP Duncan Hames has vowed to defend the service, writing to railways minister Stephen Hammond to ensure the current eight trains a day remain in place.
He said: “Cutting back to just a two-hourly service would undermine the benefits both to those who use the services, and the local economy.
“I am determined to make sure that we keep the new regular services we’ve worked so hard to secure, and am joining with local rail users to campaign for that.”
The campaign has also been supported by Conservative parliamentary candidate Michelle Donelan, who has launched a petition to save the service.
She said: “Public transport is essential if we are to help support local businesses and bring more people into our area.
“I am meeting with Stephen Hammond to discuss the problem with him. The idea is to apply as much pressure as we can.”
Her online petition is at www.michelledonelan.co.uk
On Monday, Melksham Town Council also spoke up for the service, and called for members of the public to write to the department.
Town Development committee chairman Pam Wiltshire said: “We urge people to support this, because it brings people in and allows those who live here to commute out.
“The other Saturday I noticed a family walking to the station going to Weymouth for the day. The new service makes places like that more accessible.”
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