Wiltshire Public Transport Cuts, December 2021

Through trains from London to Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon are being
withdrawn next month. The direct service to Warminster is being reduced to
just one a day. Other service reductions by both South Western Railway and
Great Western Railway next month effect Tisbury, Grateley, Salisbury, Dilton
Marsh and Westbury. Most of the trains withdrawn have been very busy and
offer through journey opportunities, journey time choices and crowd-busting
capacity into Clapham Junction and Waterloo, into Bath Spa and Bristol, and
on journeys within the county. For example, seven services are lost from
Salisbury to Warminster and on via Westbury, each day.

There has been no consultation on the changes. and a strong letter of
protest has been sent formally by Wiltshire Council amongst many other
complainants, who see this as a perverse step. It’s an odd thing to do at a
time when people should be encouraged to use greener public transport in
lieu of private cars where appropriate. With Wiltshire’s Bus Service
Improvement Plan looking to improve connections from the buses (which
provide a lifeline in many of our parishes) into our trains, it’s not much
good if the trains people want are not there!

If this affects you even at this 11th hour please write to your MP. There is
a template letter at http://www.passenger.chat/mpletter.html .

There is also, a petition running at
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598397.  We have over 6,000
signatures already and the depth of feeling is being noticed.

We only found out about the cuts from deep inside a document from another
area, about plans for 2023 which said services from our area would be gone
by then and were not up for discussion! A Freedom of Information answered
last month, last month shows an internal decision on minimal data and has
large sections redacted.  They would appear to refer to other services under
the threat, but we don’t know which they are. Whilst there ARE services that
could cease to run, it would be a dangerous precedent to allow them to go
without local input – so even if you and your parish are not directly
affected by this current cut, please consider signing to help us avoid an
easy precedent being set for the culling of train and bus services at the
behest of “Whitehall”.

There’s much more information available online at http://www.passenger.chat
and an up-to-date (well, yesterday!) summary at
http://waterloo.savethetrain.org.uk/stat_20211122.pdf .

And, thank you, for giving this matter your attention.

* Co-ordinating on behalf of six rail user groups
* Vice Chair Melksham Transport User Group