Sustainability, the green economy, global warming and peak oil are all very fashionable at the moment. Using the TransWilts Railway line to connect the communities in Wiltshire and beyond ticks all these boxes – and it provides other very real positive results too in such diverse areas as health, safety, and life quality
Some things you may not have considered about train travel
Health – arrive refreshed, and even get some exercise
In the UK, we actually eat less than we did 50 years ago – and yet more and more of us are overweight. That’s because our exercise levels have dropped off even more than our calory intake. Something as simple as walking to the station to catch your train, or walking from the station car park to the platform then standing to read the notice boards, can make a significant difference.
You’re helping your mental health too by taking the train – none of that fuming as you sit in a traffic jam, and no arriving at destination feeling very tense before plunging into a day’s work, into class, or into that important business meeting.
Once you get more that a couple of dozen people on a train, you’re using less energy per mile per person than almost any other mode of transport. That’s because you’re talking rail-on-rail, which is very efficient; it’s only bettered (perhaps) by a ferry – but we don’t have them in Wiltshire.
Over the years, the railway industry has been slow at times in modernising its trains and fitting more efficient engines – and indeed the trains on the TransWilts line are no longer in the first flush of youth. Data on train fuel efficiency, and whether it’s better not to run as fast as possible then wait in stations for the clock to catch up, is hard to come by … but one thing is certain – that a full train is going to be a lot better for the environment that everyone travelling the same journey in their own private car.
By a very long way, rail travel is the safest way to get around based on such gruesome statsistics and injuries and deaths per passenger mile. That doesn’t mean that you can ignore sensible precautions – you MUST stand back from the edge of the platform, and not cross railway lines on public footpaths (we have a number of such crossings on the TransWilts) without looking carefully to see if a train is coming first.
You should arrive – refreshed – when you travel by train. Your journey time should be shorter than a bus journey and a car journey, and you can relax on the way. All of which makes for a far better quality of life – especially for daily travellers.
When you’re travelling by train the journey is smooth and – if you wish, you can normally work on the train, read a book, and make use of your time rather than it being somewhat wasted. And for business travellers, that makes a sigificant economic case for choosing rail.
We’ve estimated that for every 8 people who travel by train, only one will happily take a bus instead for the equivalent medium distance journey – you have only to hear people complain when a train service is “bustituted” due to engineering works, and to watch them struggle with their luggage, and to consider how much time has been ‘wasted’ if 150 people per train are dropped back by an hour each when part of their journey is excpetionally by bus.
Straight to the heart!
Swindon, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Warminster stations are all close to the heart of their towns – and if you take the train, you’re saving a parking space there, as well as saving yourself the cost of paying for one. By reducing the need for town centre car parks, a thriving and busy rail service can help improve the town environment in some surprising ways!
Salisbury and Melksham stations are both situated outside the town centres, but within easy walking distance. Melksham station presently offers free parking, and it’s just off the main A350 trunk road, so it’s an ideal location to park and get the train into Chippenham, or Swindon.
And Also Consider
• You can reduce pollution hotspots (e.g. B-o-A) if you move from car to train
• You save scarring the countryside with new roads if you put traffic onto underutilised, but existing, rail corridors
• People can work in the train – not easily on the bus and not at all if driving