Melksham railway station

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Melksham
National Rail
Melksham station showing 2018 platform extension (geograph 6489905).jpg
General information
LocationMelksham, Wiltshire
England
Coordinates51°22′47″N 2°08′41″W / 51.3798°N 2.1446°W / 51.3798; -2.1446Coordinates: 51°22′47″N 2°08′41″W / 51.3798°N 2.1446°W / 51.3798; -2.1446
Grid referenceST900645
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Platforms1
Other information
Station codeMKM
ClassificationDfT category F2
History
Original companyWilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Western Railway
Post-groupingGreat Western Railway
Key dates
5 September 1848Opened
18 April 1966Closed
13 May 1985Reopened
Passengers
2016/17Increase 74,666
2017/18Decrease 74,220
2018/19Increase 74,534
2019/20Increase 75,292
2020/21Decrease 18,800
Notes
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Melksham railway station serves the town of Melksham in Wiltshire, England. It is 100 miles 13 chains (100.16 miles, 161.20 km) measured from London Paddington, on the TransWilts Line between Chippenham and Trowbridge that was originally part of the Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway, absorbed in 1850 by the Great Western Railway.

History[edit]

The station opened with the original section of the line between Thingley Junction and Westbury, on 5 September 1848.[1] British Railways closed the station from 18 April 1966 and soon afterwards the line through the station was singled, the station buildings demolished, and the up platform removed.[2] The station reopened to passengers from 13 May 1985,[3] although the short platform meant that trains longer than one carriage could not open all doors.[4] In July 2018, the platform was improved and lengthened to cater for trains of up to three carriages.[5][6]

The station had a siding which gave access to the former Wiltshire United Dairies/United Dairies creamery, last owned by Co-operative Wholesale Society Dairies, allowing access for milk trains. After its closure the dairy was converted into an industrial estate. From the 1960s to the mid-1980s there was a rail-served Shell oil depot at Melksham, run first by Jack Dean (oils) and later by Hartwells Oils. This received heating oil from a refinery at Llandarcy in west Wales but closed around 1983. During the 1970s, Foster Yeoman operated a roadstone terminal in the former goods yard which was rail-served from Merehead quarry. Wiltshire Farmers Ltd also had a private siding south of the station which was used until c.1989 for occasional deliveries of bagged fertiliser, but was removed in 1990.

Stationmasters[edit]

  • Charles Henry Tuckett 1856 (2 months)[7] (afterwards station master at Brimscombe)
  • Alfred Matthews 1874[8] – 1895[9] (formerly station master at Chipping Norton)
  • H. Gerard 1896[10] – 1897
  • F.W. Cooper 1897 – 1899[11] (afterwards station master at Montpellier)
  • Edwin C. Beard 1899 – 1920[12] (afterwards station master at Chippenham)
  • A.M Taylor 1920[13] - 1925 (afterwards station master at Stroud)
  • A.E.C.P. Drew 1925 – 1934[14] (formerly station master at Challow, afterwards station master at Trowbridge)
  • W.H. Upton 1934 – 1942[15] (formerly station master at Savernake)
  • H.E. Sealy 1942 – 1956[16]
  • D.R. Widdows from 1956[17] (formerly station master at Corsham)

Services[edit]

The Melksham train

Between December 2006 and December 2013, Melksham station was served by two trains each way per day (one train on Sundays) between Swindon and Westbury, operated by First Great Western (now Great Western Railway), a reduction from five each way per day before the December 2006 timetable change.[18]

Since December 2013, Melksham has a significantly improved service.[19] Trains run approximately every two hours each way Mon-Sat (with peak period extras – nine departures in total) and seven trains each way on Sundays. Two weekday southbound services run through to Southampton Central and two northbound services continue to Cheltenham.

The Melksham single line serves as a diversionary route when either the Paddington-Westbury-Taunton or Taunton-Bristol Temple Meads-Bath routes are closed for engineering work or otherwise disrupted; occasional use is also made of the line by Freightliner trains running between Southampton and the Midlands when their normal route via Basingstoke and Reading is unavailable. GWR's hourly Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff Central services are sometimes diverted via Melksham to terminate and start at Swindon rather than Cardiff when engineering work is taking place between Bath, Bristol and the Severn Tunnel in connection with the electrification of the Great Western main line. The effect of these diversions is that the local Westbury-Swindon 'Trans Wilts' service often has to be covered by a Rail Replacement bus service as there are insufficient paths available over the eight-mile single line section, due to a lack of intermediate signal sections.

A number of Mendip Rail aggregate trains from the quarries at Merehead and Whatley also use the line, serving destinations such as Appleford, Oxford Banbury Road, Wootton Bassett and Acton (London). A train of empty ballast hoppers operated by GB Railfreight runs most weekdays from Westbury via Melksham to Cliffe Hill Stud Farm in Leicestershire.

Facilities[edit]

From summer 2015 a ticket vending machine has been in use on the platform, enabling passengers to either purchase their tickets or collect pre-paid tickets for their journey. An additional 20 free car parking spaces were provided at the same time, together with covered cycle accommodation, CCTV and a new passenger shelter.

As of 2020, there is a "next train" digital display on the station platform as well as a more detailed arrivals and departures screen in the adjoining car park. In that year the local Rail User Group turned a disused building close to the station into a café.[20]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Chippenham   Great Western Railway
Wessex Main Line
  Trowbridge

User groups[edit]

Melksham Railway Development Group formed in 1995, to promote Melksham Station and train journeys to and from Melksham.[21] The group supported "Save the Train" and the TransWilts CRP over the years but has remained independent, running at least one special event every year. In 2015, the group was renamed the Melksham Rail User Group as with the success of their and other campaigns, passengers are now using the trains in greater numbers.

The "Save The Train" group was launched in 2005, to raise public awareness that services along the TransWilts Line were being reduced.[22] Prior to the introduction of extra services in late 2013, "Save the Train" members transferred to the community element of the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership.[23]

Community Rail[edit]

With Melksham being served by trains on the Swindon to Westbury route it comes under the remit of the TransWilts Community Interest Company (CIC) which is accredited by the Department for Transport. [24] As part of its Melksham Masterplan it is turning a disused building outside the station into a Hub including a café with toilets, cycle hire and EV charging points. [25]

The group has also taken out a lease on land adjacent to the station and laid it out for car parking. Income from charges levied will be ploughed back into further improvements at the station.

It is also campaigning to extend the service to an hourly one continuing through via Salisbury to Southampton.

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway. Vol. 1 (1st ed.). Paddington: Great Western Railway. p. 295.
  2. ^ Oakley, Mike (2004). Wiltshire Railway Stations. Wimborne: The Dovecote Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN 1-904349-33-1.
  3. ^ "Then & Now – Melksham Railway Station". Wiltshire Times. Trowbridge. 15 June 2006. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007.
  4. ^ "Great Western Route Utilisation Study: Platform Lengths" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Station platform to be extended". Melksham Independent News. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Extended platform now in service at Melksham Station". Melksham Independent News. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  7. ^ "1838–1876 Clerks No.3". Great Western Railway Operating, Miscellaneous Depts: 26. 1835. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  8. ^ "1835-1910 Clerks Vol.5". Great Western Railway Operating, Miscellaneous Depts: 120. 1835. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Resignation of the Stationmaster". Warminster & Westbury journal, and Wilts County Advertiser. England. 26 October 1895. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Mr. H. Gerard". Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. England. 18 January 1896. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Clifton's Stationmaster". Western Daily Press. England. 29 September 1922. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Presentations to the Late Stationmaster". Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser. England. 8 January 1921. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "New Stationmaster at Melksham". Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser. England. 22 September 1956. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "G.W.R. Staff Changes". North Wilts Herald. England. 7 December 1934. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ "Station Master Retiring". Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser. England. 21 February 1942. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. ^ "Railwaymen's Tribute". Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette. England. 6 November 1920. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. ^ "New Stationmaster". Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser. England. 21 July 1956. Retrieved 27 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  18. ^ "TransWiltsRail: Melksham". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Train timetable". Melksham Rail User Group. December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Baker, John (3 September 2020). "Melksham rail hub is opened". Wiltshire Times. Retrieved 28 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "Melksham Rail User Group". Well House Consultants. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  22. ^ Ellis, Graham. "Save the Train". Well House Consultants. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  23. ^ "Movement to TransWilts CRP". First Great Western Coffee Shop. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  24. ^ "DfT accredited CRPs". Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  25. ^ "Our plan – the Melksham Hub".

External links[edit]