|Draft report - community and business case
We're working on this community and business case and plan...
The operational case will be covered in the MVA and NR reports. They are about whether the service can be run, will it provide a good benefit to cost ratio, and how will it pay its way. Although we were fairly sure of our figures before we got in touch with MVA, it is necessary for the case to be reviewed by the infrastructure owner and against industry standard measures by a well know independent expert consultancy so that Department for Transport decisions can be based on measures that are comparable to other cases.
This report covers the advantages for the communities and businesses in the area ... and some wider benefits outside the area too.
TransWilts Rail - the Community and Business Report
Wiltshire is crossed by three railway lines running East to West - main lines with a handful of stations in the county, and with services from London to Exeter, from London to the South West, and from London to Bath and Bristol. They provide good links from the city of Salisbury, and those town and villages fortunate enough to be served, to London and in the other direction too.
The Cardiff to Portsmouth line also crosses from the South to the West of the county and links to two of the three main London lines. It provides hourly long distance services, with some additional local trains especially north of Westbury.
The TransWilts line runs from Swindon in the north of the county, where it connects with lines to London, to South Wales, and to Gloucester and Cheltenham, via Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury (where it connects with the London to the South West line, and also the Heart of Wessex line to Weymouth), Dilton Marsh, Warminster and Salisbury (where it connects with London, Exeter, Southampton and Portsmouth services)
This last line - the TransWilts - links the largest urban communities in Wiltshire's unitary area - Salisbury, Trowbridge and Chippenham - each of which is scheduled to grow in coming years by around 7000 homes (16000 people at 2.3 per household) with Swindon - a separate authority within Wiltshire and a key driver, and Melksham (2000 homes / 4600 people already authorised and more to come) which is the fourth largest urban community in the county. Warminster is also a substantial town, as is Westbury, and significant growth should be anticipated in both of them.
None of the towns mentioned - with the possible exception of Swindon - is of sufficient size to be selfsupporting in terms of all services so there is a natural flow of commuter, educational, business, leisure and other community traffic between them. However, there are currently just two trains each way per day on the middle section of the TransWilts line, running in what the rail industry calls "marginal time". This means that they are timetabled to run when a train is available, and not at the times that they would get optimal use - to be specific, the first leaves Chippenham onto the otherwise unserved middle section of the line at 06:32, and the second at 19:01. The trains are, as a result, lightly loaded. And the roads are clogged with private cars as well as lorries - a situation which can only get worse as the towns grow, unless actions are taken to provide extra travelling capacity that people will use, or there is a quite unforseen reduction in the need for people to travel.
Network Rail's GWRUS (March 2010) suggests an appropriate service level of one train per hour with a strongly positive case. Other reports from Wiltshire Council support this. A new MVA Consultancy (March 2011) suggest an even stronger positive case after a very much more detailed study, for a service to run hourly at peak times from Salisbury to Swindon, and in two hours out of three during the day. An hourly service throughout the day would leave insufficient freight paths on the line without capital investment in extra signals prior to the study cutoff date of 2030.
"Rail Industry Work" is being done to put the case for 2 re-assigned carriages to provide this service as a part of rolling stock redeployment later this year, when new carriages are delivered to the Midlands. The purpose of this document is to outline how the provision of an a TransWilts service as examined in the MVA and Network Rail reports will benefit the corridor served, and indeed communities beyond the corridor, and how the community has come together to ensure that the scheme will be an ongoing success on Financial, Economic and Community terms.
Wiltshire's Railways, putting the TransWilts in context
Headlines - services that run - 7 days a week, throughout the day will provide the benefits listed below. Many are benefits that apply to other rail schemes, but many are specific to TransWilts and we will put them into a local context below.
* Reduction in travel time
* Reduction in need for car ownership
* Reduction in congestion / free up roads for those who need them
* Reduction in noise and dirt
* Ability to work or relax while travelling
* More pleasant journey
* Leisure Journeys
* Integrated transport encouragement
* Park and Ride
* Especially good for young, old, unable to drive through health or finance
* Courts, Hospitals, Schools and Colleges, Cinema, Theatre
* CO2 emissions saving
* Peak Oil
* Community Choice
How do we know the service would actually be used? The Chamber of Commerce / TransWilts Rail survey that ran for 4 weeks to 25th February asked respondents whether they would use the (peak) service to commute. Result:
41.7% may look very low ... BUT 664 potential commuters appears to be a very high number. However, we are not suprised by this result, as the number of journeys made per head of population per annum from stations off the TransWilts is between 20 and 50 journeys, and for journeys on the station at Melksham (served only by the TransWilts) is under 0.5 journeys. Respondents were also asked about the nearest station to home and work. Of those who might use the train, 615 (of the 664) gave a TransWilts station as their answer for work, and 1468 (of a total of 1594 who answered the survey) gave a TransWilts station as their answer for home.
The Chambers of Commerce also asked about the use that respondents would make of the line at weekends. Result:
Taking a pessimistic view (1-2 means "once", 3-6 times means "4 times" and 7-12 times means "9 times"), that gives over 18,000 journeys per annum - split over 100 weekend days, that's 180 round trips (360 journeys) per day. It should be noted that this is only data from the people who responded - the line / service needs marketing [planned!] and will cause numbers to rise. Furthermore, commuters tend to travel alone but leisure travellers go in groups, so with services that meet the leisure market's need, numbers should be considerably in excess of those extracted from the survey.
In summary ... TransWilts Rail will provide a real quality of life improvement for many people, and those whom we've already reached more than make the case for its use.
Headline - there are real transport and access issues that significantly restrict businesses in Wiltshire - keeping growth down and costs up to the detriment of the economy. Wiltshire looses out because the connections / roads are slow for visitors, and employees have to come from a smaller pool / area, clog the road at peak times and have to find somewhere to park. A TransWilts Rail service as described at the top of this document would provide the following benefits (again, some of these apply to many rail schemes):
* Ability of customers to get to / from businesses
* Ability of employees to make outgoing journeys
* Ability of employees to commute between offices
* Ability or employees to commute
* Saving of business car parking needs
* Saving / postponing of road upgrade needs
* Compaction of town centres
* Development in Westbury
* Increased prospetity leads to less social support needs from tax
* Increased prospetity leads to increased tax revenue
How do we know that the services would actually help businesses? In parallel with the public survey, the chamber of commerce ran a survey of businesses for 4 weeks to 25th February 2011 and 154 businesses responded. Of these, 143 listed a TransWilts station as their nearest:
These responses represent about 11,000 employees ( 51 * 2 + 27 * 9 + 17 * 20 + 5 * 40 + 13 * 70 + 18 * 150 + 11 * 600 ):
When asked if a reliable hourly (peak) service would be an attractive alternative to driving, over 80% agreed or strongly agreed:
And 92% agreed or strongly agreed that a regular TransWilts service would make the business more accessible and competitive:
The provision of return trip options is particularly significant to employees and to business visitors. These diagrams show (top) the round trip opportunities to Swidnon from West Wiltshire via the TransWilts and bottom for an improved service (this diagram is an old one when we were looking only at a tentative step prior to evaluation of what an appropriate service would be). Further research could usefully be done in this field, in particular in relation to the syncronisation between outward and inward journeys.
Note that doubling the service quadruples the options for round trips, and that's compound - double twice (which is what's suggested) and you'll get 16 times the options. Som eof those will not be marketable combinations, but many will! See http://wellho.info/2457
** Wider Corridor
* Pewsey and Avebury
* B-o-A and Freshford relief
* Chippenham to Swindon relief
* Relief into Swindon
* Long distance travellers
As well as providing relief on the roads that parallel the TransWilts railway, there will be an effect on road traffic further afield. (a) Concern has been expressed at the extra traffic using roads "designed for use by horse and cart" for through journeys from Salisbury to Chippenham and Swindon; the particular comments are from Pewsey, and from the National Trust at Avebury. (b) If longer distance business visitors cannot take a train to the town they're visiting, they will often use their car all the way. Significant rail revenue and other benefits are lost. Recent examples (personally know to the author) include journeys from Narberth (Pembrokshire), Coventry, Reading, Peterborough and Edinburgh. (c) Phase 2 - Wootton Bassett station - would take traffic off the road into Swindon and put it on rail.
A TransWilts service will provide overcrowding relief on weekday peak services from Bradford-on-Avon to Bath (and see below how this may save the need for a strengthening carriageon that line) and the same services on Saturdays. There is also an overcrowding problem on the Chippenham to Swindon section early on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, the service on that stretch runs at half the frequency it does on other days, and it's difficult to even get on the train at Chippenham; from observation, the overcrowding is slighlty less of a problem before Chippenham and after Swindon, so passengers transferred to "TransWilts" services would take some load at the heavist point.
* Commuter and business not tourist line
* End to end with connections not terminal
* Service not line CRP
There are many calls on limited rolling stock at the moment, with priority being given to releif of overcrowding. There is severe overcrowding from Bradford-on-Avon into Bath, to the extent that passengers are being left behind. That is not on the TransWilts, but it should be noted that these services are heavily used by passengers "doglegging" from Trowbridge (and south) to Chippenham (and east). With a TransWilts train available at the overcrowded time, the overcrowding would be relieved. We are seeking figures for the number of journeys; it is certainly significant enough for First Great Western to have retimed trains to improve the dogleg connection at Bath. So the deployment of two trains on the TransWilts would relieve congestion on the two busiest trains on Westbury -> Brisol on their heaviest loaded section, reducing or removing the need to strengthen those services. In other words - in rolling stock terms, this does not use up any more trains in providing an extra service. It would involve additional crewing costs, which (from the business case) documents WOULD be met by increased income.
The TransWilts is a year-round line. Commuter and business traffic will flow for 50 weeks out of 52, and the leisure market talks more of shopping, and going to shows than it does about trips to the coast or holiday travel. Which helps to balance out the use of the stock - comfortably busy at all times rather than packed in summer and empty in winter.
The TransWilts has connections at both ends. Although Salisbury a city and Swindon a huge town, there is a great deal of good connectivity onwards from both, giving extra traffic / journey opportunities which will be used at both ends. Evidence we have suggests that connecting passengers will provide significant extra traffic.
* Bus solutions
* Car solutions
* Demand responsive transport
* Other rail solutions
* Cycling and walking solutions
* Reduced travel need solutions
The issue is the connection of the communities and businsses in Wiltshire and beyond, and the question should be asked "if not TransWilts, then what?".
The surveys (summarised above) and many other sources indicate the strong need or desire to travel, and travel effciently, along the North - South backbone of Wiltshire. Localism could reduce the need to travel, but that would result in the need to duplicate service in many towns. Courts, Hospital Services, Cinemas, Shopping Malls, Leisure Centres, specialised education course are however very expensive to duplicate and there's much more of a need to travel rather than less. Chippenham hospitals is the centre of excellence on ingrowing toenails, and Westbury does a roaring trade in cataract operations for a wide area that extends far beyond the town.
Private car based solutions lead to expensive road scheme requirements, and have other concerns associated with them - increasing cost, sustainiability, and the exclusion of groups who can't drive or can't afford to drive.
Buses also require some road space; they take longer for the journey (85 minutes by the express bus from Trowbridge to Swindon v 35 minutes by a direct train).Cost per seat is lower, but cost per seat mile is comparable due to the lower speeds, and when the economic cost of the passenger's time is considered, the bus becomes less attractive for journeys in excess of 8 miles. There is also an issue that many people will take a train but not a bus, and on a longer journey they will change from train to train, but not train to bus. We have noted on the TransWilts that when a bus replaces trains during engineering works, a train which normally conveys 30 or 40 people will be "bustituted" by a bus that carries just a handful - perhaps 4 to 6 passengers at most. Buses have their place for shorter journeys - up to 4 or 5 miles, within towns, to larger villages, and to towns where there is no longer a railway line.
Taxis, flexiroute minibuses, and car share schemes all have their place, for providing access to more remote / rural locations near to the TransWilts corridor, but are not cost effective along the corridor itself. A taxi from Chippenham Station to Melksham - 6 miles - costs around 22.50, and with luggage is often the only practical way to make the journey, as the buses leave from Chippenham BUS station across the town until late afternoon.
Cycling and walking solutions are good if (a) short distances (b) luggage free and (c) healthy person.
Many other rail options have been considered over the years. Indeed, the "Save the Train" campaign started with an objective to evaluate appropriate services and options and has considered many. It supports the Community's "TransWilts" proposals as being the most appropriate for the line. Consideration was given to linkages with the Stroud Valley service at Swindon with temptingly sits in the platform for one hour in every 2, to linkage on from Salisbury to the Southampton and Eastleigh service, and to a service that ran from Swindon (or Chippenham) to Frome and perhaps beyond, or rank from Westbury to Bristol with a reversal at Chippenham. For techincal or commercial reasons, each of these options has been discounted in favour of the current proposals.
There's no single transport solution in Wiltshire (or elsewhere); Wiltshire is too small for signiicant air solutions, and landlocked with no major waterways so there are no signifcant waterbourne solutions. Beyond that, rail for longer journeys and major flows, buses for shorter journeys and where there are significant flows, and demand responsive transport for specialised / minor flows offer the best option. But integration is critical. Only one in 5 rail journeys does not involve powered further transport at one or both ends of the train journey. See http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=6429.0
Delivery / Realisation
* CRP plans
It's one thing to (re)gain a service based on theoretical figures, and it's another - though related - thing to ensure the service is well used and retained. Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) are organisations which provide a link for the population in the area served with the rail industry, and with local and national government. They have been instrumental in bringing greater visibility to other railways lines, and so increasing ridership and eventually services. They're really good at the low cost, localised issues which can bring a huge payback - suggesting the retiming of a train by a few minutes to make a bus connection, taking care of the station so that it's "owned" by the school not vandalised by its pupils, and in speaking with the press for publicity. When CRPs were first created, their remit was to cover lines rather than services, and so they were inadmissable for the TranwWilts which runs on lines maintained for other services - such as freight and long distance diverted expresses. However, they have been amended and can now cover services.
The TransWilts CRP was formed, with guidance from the Department for Transport, last year. There was an element of concern that there's hardly any service to support, and so the group has (thus far) kept itself voluntary / unfunded / unofficial. However, Wiltshire's transport plan (LTP) make the TransWilts a strategic link and the TransWilts Rail umbrella group if working towards an appropriate service, so the CRP is now registering with the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and planning to make use of support offered in the LTP to ensure that the local community, government and the rail industry continue to work togther on the line (as they have been progressively doing much more of over the last few years anyway).
• Information is key, and the Community Rail Partnership will be maintaining content on the TransWilts Rail web site - a publicity site that will contain information for the leisure visitor about what he / she can do and see, and also on the Community Rail Partnership's site which contains the backup information about the history of the line, FAQs for travelling by train, and much more such as reports like this one at http://www.twcrp.org.uk/report.html
Web sites ...
http://www.transwiltsrail.org.uk/ - what we have today / the umbrella group
http://www.twcrp.org.uk/index.html - where will are going and how we are promoting - the Community Rail Partnership
• Information is key, and the Community Rail Partnership will be producing timetable, special trip and other key leaflets relating to the line, for circulation at stations, and also at tourist information centres and in the wider community.
• Information is key, and the CRP will be listing what the line offers with appropriate links on such sites as "scenic lines", "visit Wiltshire". We will be listing special diary events in online what's happening directories, and ensuring that there is press coverage before and after such events.
• The Community Rail Partnership already runs its own working group forum where members can talk through issues / meet online. Since its inception less that a year ago, 100 topics have been discussed, through 400 individual messages. One section (about 10% of the content) is public visible to give a newsfeed to anyone who's interested.
• In addition to online interaction, the group meets from time to time and (thus far) has been hosted by a community member, with travel expenses met from individual's own pockets. It's planned that we'll move to a more formal - though occasional - meeting schedule, and we'll be asking for a concession on train travel for members coming to the event. With support for Wiltshire Council (listed above), from First (on the travel) and with the event hosted by a community member, we'll be a true partnership in funding as well as activity terms.
• Stations adoptions schemes, where the community can assist, are particularly useful at unmanned stations - so that's Dilton Marsh and Melksham. Those are underway / planned (meeting with FGW, 29th or 31st March). We are also working with the Heart of Wessex CRP (with whom we share Westbury and Trowbridge) on clearing out some of the scrub / wasteland beside the main station entrance. Station adoptions include partnership notice boards
• Plans are being looked at for a "pump priming" service to run this (high) summer to encourage users to start making early use of the line; that's likely to be an early morning return trip from Westbury to Swindon and back, using a train that's stabled overnight at Westbury and currently runs its first Sunday service at 09:00 to Weymouth. This will give us. (a) Day out from Swindon, Chippenham, Melksham and Trowbridge on a through train to Weymouth and (b) Day out from Westbury, Trowbridge and Melksham to London (and to intermediate places too). In both cases, passengers will return via the existing Sunday services, getting home in the early evening.
• Other organised outings using existing trains / encouragement to use the service will be persued. As of Spring 2011, these are very limited indeed as there are few round trip opportunities. But we can add to a summer service brochure the autumn opportunities for Saturday Shopping in Swindon to give is a degree of continutity prior to an explosion of opportunities from December. You'll see what we have to sell to today on the TransWilts Rail web site, and the future on the CRP website.
• The community's not only concerned with the train, but also the integration with other transport modes. We note that Wiltshire Council's portfolio holder for public transport suggested community BUS partnerships at a transport meeting, and that others have picked up his idea. This proposal / group is a rail one - but it's also an integration one; the importance of connections cannot be understated. Here's a sketch of a rail / bus map for Chippenham. This is not *only* about information online, though. We're also looking at getting bus and train times to connect, and bus departure information onto the train boards where appropriate too. There are some classic "small change, big difference" possibilities. There's a train that arrives at Chippenham from London at 19:44 - the first off peak service of the evening, and therefore the train that passengers on a tight budget (who may not have cars) will use. The bus for Lacock, Melksham and Trowbridge leaves at ... 19:44 - it pulls out from the station as the train pulls in. So people can wait 80 minutes for the next bus, spend 20 pounds + on a taxi to Melksham or [as the author of this paragraph did last week] call his partner for a lift, overtaking the bus as we left Chippenham. Integration also includes Park and Ride / Kiss and Ride / walking access / Cycling access.
• Surveys have already provided a great deal of information, and the CRP will continue to survey information. Rail industry data (such as that provided by (?) systems such as LENON and MOIRA, and by Passenger Focus) tell us / the industry a great deal about current users and what their concerns are, but it does not cover potential passengers who do not the train at present, either because there isn't a train around the time they need to travel, or for other reasons like they don't know about the trains. Alison Forster, former MD of First Great Western, quoted their estimate that  there were 2.5 people who would be happy to use the train but don't for every one who currently uses it, and the surveys help us reach those people. It is the CRP's intent to advertise an excellent product, so that these new users will keep coming back and using the train again, and that some of the people who take a single day trip out may at a future date become regular commuters.
• We are anticipating a heavy workload over the coming year to 18 months and - should services rise from 2 to 10 per day as envisaged, we'll need to have a part time paid officer / assistant - looking at the model of the Three Rivers Partnership or the Heart of Wessex. We would hope that such a person could join us from fairly soon after a decision is made.
* Information points at stations
* Retiming of 09:00 (Saturdays) to 09:05 to improve connections
* Timetable leaflets for Dilton Marsh in association with Wiltshire Council
* Extra service - 18:19 Swindon to Westbury (Sunday) over and above franchise spec - thank you First
* Santa Specials in association with Melksham Railway Development Group
* Day out to Weymouth
* Extra stop at Dilton Marsh
* Help in providing a backdrop / publicity for this current application
* Public survey - thank you to Chambers of Commerce
There's a great deal already been achieved - many with the help / co-operation of the various parties involved. And this work has provided seeding which has helped get us to where we are today. We believe we're well informed, we have a good case that we've checked via various routes to ensure that the elements agree, and we believe we're set to not only gain ... but then to go on and retain the service, incorporating it as a core service into the next franchise from - probably 2016, just possibly 2013. And from then onwards too the community will be supporting the line and service.
The further future
The case presented stands on its own as a complete scheme in its own right. The benefit / cost ratio is very good indeed, and there are no extras that are needed to make it work that have not been stated. However, we have also been careful to ensure that we do not shut any doors on significant other opportunities, nor (as far as possible) block any other / ongoing development options. Here are the items that may come as following phases:
* Station access
* Office, bunshop, ticket sales
* Station Improvements
* LEP link
* Wootton Bassett / Lyneham regenation
* Coming of IEP
* Salisbury Platfform (mention Westbury, Chippenham)
Wiltshire Council has already purchased land at Melksham station which would be made available for parking of around 50 to 60 cars from day 1. Only modest tarmaccing required and (sorry, travellers), a pay and display machine. It's part of the financial case for the whole service, and it'll be much less than paying for parking at Chippenham. Station access improvements / turning circle for cars and buses at Melksham form part of this.
Again at Melksham, station access will be improved by providing a link path (or perhaps bus gate) between the council land and the road at Foundry Close, which already has a roundabout stubb for the purpose. This will remove a long indirect walk / cycle from the north end of Melksham to the station and put it within easy reach of the housing and shopping that's there. It will also (via the footbridge over the river) bring the station within cycling and walking distance of Melksham Forest, an area of older high density housing which has relatively low car ownership.
The Local Sustainable Transport Fund is a central government fund being bid for over the next few months, with substantial sums available. Wiltshire are considering bidding for the second tranche of this money with schemes along and linked in to the TransWilts. These could / would / should include ... Station at Wootton Bassett; improvements to support an hourly (not 2 in 3) service through the day (extra signals to allow 2 trains to follow each other at 8 rather that 17 minute intervals), improved cycle access and parking and perhaps cycle hire seeding at appropriate stations, bus and demand responsive infrastructure, seeding of third train up to truly hourly. This is just an indicative list to start and subject to review.
The building on the car park site at Melksham can be used as a volunteer's base and perhaps office for the CRP. Coffee shop in the morning. Ticket sales? An independent ticket sales agency retains 5% of the income from ticket sales, but the equipment to print tickets needs to be hired at several thousand pounds per year. There are sums to be done here.
Wootton Bassett is a town of some 12000 people and it's near Lyneham, where 2500 jobs are to be lost on the closure of RAF Lyneham in the near furure. It's in Wiltshre but just a few miles from Swindon ... however, there are some magnificent traffic jams on the way. It's also close to the M4, and could form a good park and ride location. There are two options for a station at Wootton Bassett at some date in the future - to the east or to the west of the junction where the south Wales and Bristol lines diverge.
The service / timetable already works with time allowed for a stop at a new station at Wootton Bassett and we are checking whether the line capacity is also there for a stop at Staverton, on the site of the former Staverton Halt. This is a location close to the river and canal (leisure market) and with substantial new housing, with other land available as part of the ongoing development of Trowbridge. Land would be available for car parking, and there is also an industrial base / potential inwards communing. Very early stages on this but we are ensuring the door is not shut. Staverton station would be 2 miles from Trowbridge station.
The Goco co-operative has been planning to run services from Yeovil (now Westbury) to Oxford / Banbury / Birmingham via an Open Access agrement with Network Rail. We would very much like to see their services running on the Westbury to Swindon section of the TransWilts and they would give an excellent new onwards link to Oxford which isn't on our territory, but is very much needed! Until the TransWilts service is up to an hourly frequency (combined operators), additional service will add to the line's revenue PER TRAIN due to the higher number of journey opportunities, so we would not consider that Goco and First would be competing, but rather they would be complimenting. Whilst there are some open access operators who seem to be doing OK, we're conscious that Wrexham and Shropshire ceased trading at short notice recently, and that as a commercial service trains that are run by Open Access operators can go away as quickly as they come. A service which includes Goco trains, and also franchised services, would encourage people to make long term plans for regular journeys (such as communting after a house move) which they might be loathe to make if only open access was available.
The Intercity Express project, and Great Western Electrification, come in 2016; the line through Swindon will be electrified, to both Bristol via Chippenham and to South Wales. The TransWilts from Chippenham to Salisbury would not be electrified. New trains "IEP"s will be electric and / or diesel + electric - five electic services plus one dual per hour from Paddington to Wootton Bassett. Two electics will carry on via Chippenham to Bristol, and three electics and one dual will take the South Wales line as far as Brisol Parkway. This is a net gain of 2 trains per hour from Wootton Basset to Swindon and even without the improved speed of the IEP there is enough capacity there for these six trains plus one TransWilts. With the significantly faster IEP speed, it may also be worth reviewing the Bristol to Bath shuttle that's included within the GWRUS and narrowly missed the cut on extension to Chippenham due to the need to add a new platform track for the purpose; an hourly electric train could run from Bristol to Swindon - a 'stopper' to serve stations that the IEP does not call at, with this service and the hourly TransWilts both reversing in the already-provided bay platform at Swindon which will be vacated when IEP starts, as the Stroud Valley line services will then all continue to / from London.
At some stage (and I think it's planned - at least as a temporary measure - already as part of the Reading works) an extra platform face may be needed at Westbury, which can sometime become a pinchpoint. As TransWilts service will run through, only occasionally terminating, this is not as big an issue as it would be on a short service. Turnbacks at Warminster will be lessened. Turnbacks at Salisbury may increase; there are two platforms there which are in essence available for stock but out of use for passengers, and when we get to the hourly service there may be a need to bring one back into passenger service - primarily a signalling and labelling issue.
The current fare regime has developed over many years, and as a result contains a number of anachronisms and some very unbalanced fares:
* Currently there are no fares from Swindon to Salisbury routed through Melksham. The ticketing systems would have you buy the fares routed 'Not London'. There are no 'Day' fares for this routeing so the Anytime Single at £53.00 would be payable on the 0616 (M-F) direct train to Salisbury.
** The Chippenham to Salisbury fares above are an Anytime Day Single with an Anytime Return (ie return within one month). There is no Anytime Day Return fare for this flow. The Off Peak Return (return within one month) is £19.50 and valid on the 0814 changing at Bath Spa.
* On these flows there is no Off Peak Day Single, so the fare shown is the Anytime Day Single.
** As with the Anytime fares, there are no Off Peak fares available between Swindon and Salisbury if you use the route via Melksham. Splitting your tickets is currently the only sensible option.
† On these flows there are no Off Peak Day Singles or Returns. Refer to the Anytime Day table.
Some anomolies (such as the £106.00 return fare from Swindon to Salisbury) need urgent attention. Changing the "via Bath" tickets that are available to be "via Trowbridge" would be a quick fix.
There are also some good, but not well know, fares available that require publicity, for example:
- Groupsave 4. 4 adults for the price of 2 on offpeak tickets, and children 1 pound each. Example fare - 4 adults + 4 children from Trowbridge or Melksham, day out in London on Saturday - 112 pounds including a railcard for use of the underground; that works out as 14 pounds per person.
- Heart of Wessex Day Ranger - Adult 15 pounds, child 7.50. Covers Bristol to Swidnon, Bristol to Westbury and Weymouth, and Swindon to Westbury. Only valid after 08:20 on Monday to Friday. Any time at weekends
- Severn and Solent 4 day in 7 or 8 day in 15 (40 pounds or 60 pounds). Area bounded (south) Portsmouth and Weymouth, (west) Axminster, Tiverton, Cardiff, (north) Great Malvern / Worcester and (east) Swindon, Westbury, Salisbury. Only valid after 09:00 on Monday to Friday, any time at weekends.
* Industry Reports
* Our own analysis of data
* Survey Results
* On historic information
With thanks for help and support from ...
* Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce
* Leading major companies such as Knorr Bremse
* Wiltshire Council - elected members, portfolio holders, and officers
* Department for Transport, Community Rail and franchise manager officials
* MPs from all along the route
* First Great Western
* Network Rail
* TravelWatch SouthWest
* Melksham Railway Development Group
* Climate Change Groups
* Campaign for Better Transport
* Heart of Wessex CRP
* Three Rivers CRP
* County, Town and Parishes
* West Wilts Rail Users group
* The 150+ companies who filled in the public survey
* The 1600+ individuals who filled in the public survey
and many, many others far too numerous to mention
Scope and summary
This report is presents the business and community cases and not the operational / rail industy case which is covered in technical documents from specialist consultants. The rail industry can provide the extra services - they are technically feasible - without engineering works; rolling stock is an issue that needs to be resolved within the current bidding process. The case is a good one, as not only would 2 carriages assigned to the TransWilts relieve overcrowding on the neighbouring line, but it would also mean that the extra carriages were doing really beneficial work for the rest of the day.
* Over 600 people say this would help their commute.
* Businesses representing 11,000 employees say it would be a huge help to them
* 36,000 leisure journeys just from people we surveyed
* Congesting relief on the neighbouring lines
What are we waiting for ;-)
Appendix A - a little about the line, for the leisure user
Eight great places with plenty of things to do ...
Swindon is the home of the National Trust, of the Steam Museum, of the Outlet Centre ... these are well known. You can also see the Museum of Computing, The Oasis Leisure Centre, and the County Ground.
At Chippenham, the station is close to the town centre, to the Olympiad Leisure Centre and to Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. There's also connecting buses to the local towns of Calne, Malmesbury (where you can see the Abbey) and Corsham - where you can visit Corsham Court.
Melksham is a friendly town on the river Avon. It's the nearest station to the National Trust village of Lacock and The Courts at Holt. There are countryside walks along the Wilts and Berks Canal, and the River Avon ... taking you to either Chippenham or Trowbridge to connect with your train home. Buses to Devizes pass close by the station every hour, and there's free parking just off the main A350 and A365 road.
Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire. It's on the Kennet and Avon Canal and river Biss, and has plenty of historic buildings, including County Hall. There is a major business part at "White Horse", but never the less there is a major commuter flow out of the town - to Bath and Bristol, to Swindon and to Salisbury.
At Westbury is the home of one of Wiltshire's famous White Horses - you can see it on the hill from the station , and walk up there if you wish. Westbury is also a major railway junction - you can change here for trains to Frome, Yeovil and Weymouth, for Taunton, Exeter and the West Country, and for Pewsey, Newbury, Reading and London. Bus connections at the head of the station approach will take you to nearby villages.
Dilton Marsh station serves the village of Dilton Marsh, and the growing suburb of Westbury Leigh too. Famous for its place in John Betjamin poem, these days the station is commuter joining point for some of the many people who live very close to the station and work in Chippenham, Bath, Swindon, Salisbury and Bristol.
Warminster is the closest station to Longleat - home of Lord Bath, and a major railhead for the Army units based there and on the edge of Salisbury Plain. Spectacular countryside - such as the National Trusts's Hill fort at Cley Hill are close by too, and a regular bus will connect you to the pretty villages of the Wylye Valley.
At Salisbury, you can visit the City Centre, The Cathedral and Cathedral Close, including the National Trust's Mompesson House. You can shop, and you can take the tour bus from the station approach to Stonehenge. Onward train connections will take you to Anover, Basingstoke and Woking, to Southampton and Portsmouth, and to Sherborne, Honiton and Axminster. Bus connections from Salisbury will take you into the New Forest, to Ringwood, and to the old Wessex Capital of Wilton.
Appendix B - Extracts from Rail Industry Reports
The Wiltshire Community Plan 2011-2026 and Corporate Plan 2010-14 set out Wiltshire Assembly's vision, priorities and objectives for making Wiltshire a better place to live and work. They identify three key priorities:
• supporting the local economy: in the past 10 years Wiltshire has been losing competitive advantage against the rest of the South West region and neighbouring economies
• reducing disadvantage and inequalities: areas of Salisbury, Swindon and Trowbridge are in the most deprived 20% of areas in the country
• tackling climate change: the county has the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the South West and is the only area to have an increase in emissions in 2005-2007.
The North, Mid and South Wiltshire Economic Partnerships all have 2009-14 strategies that have an objective to improve the economic infrastructure required for business development.
The Wiltshire Local Transport Plan (LTP) 2011-2026 seeks to deliver the higher level policy objectives by:
• increasing rail connectivity through provision of bus and rail links
• encouraging sustainable travel modes
• supporting the function of rail stations as transport hubs
• improving journey time reliability for road users by transferring traffic to rail.
In addition to delivering the LTP objectives, the nine trains per day TWR service can directly contribute to achieving the Assembly objectives by:
Supporting the local economy
• reducing out commuting by improving access for people to work opportunities in Wiltshire
• making it easier for businesses in Wiltshire to grow by improving business connectivity
• improving people's access to leisure activity in Wiltshire, including tourism
• improving people's access to retail opportunities in Wiltshire
• longer term, supporting development of RAF Lyneham by a new station at Wotton Bassett
Reducing disadvantage and inequality
• improving social inclusion in Wiltshire by improving people's access to key services
• directly serving residents in deprived areas of Wiltshire e.g. Trowbridge and Salisbury
Assisting to tackle Climate Change
• lowering people's reliance on car by providing a regular, reliable public transport alternative reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality by increasing local opportunities and reducing out-commuting, especially by car.
Key is that TWR is a regional railway service, designed to meet local peoples' needs by reliably delivering
a regular service pattern that:
• connects Wiltshire's market towns
• directly links the market towns to both Swindon and Salisbury
• links the major centres in Wiltshire to major centres in nearby counties
• provides socially inclusive access to Wilshire's business economies and key services
• provides a viable, sustainable transport alternative to the car
• encourages local community ownership in the regional railway, its stations and services
• integrates with and helps to deliver national and local priorities.
Costed, quantified data is available from within these reports which will be submitted as addenda where appropriate.
Appendix C - Further analysis of Public survey
Appendix D - Further analysis of Business Survey
Comments added by business report respondents (UNFILTERED):
Main adavantage is that we have offices in Trowbridge and Swindon which could be better linked.
Lots of clients from London and Bristol.
Easier for freelancers to visit us.
[Wootton Bassett (future)] We would be able to better complete with clients from neighbouring cities.
We all operate from home but I do many client visits and as often as I can I use the train - it may not always be quicker but unless the train is crowed I can usually get some work done.
I would use it for trips to the Swindon Area which now I always do by car
We frequently have meetings with other employees who work in Trowbridge. We are often invited to seminars and courses in Chippenham. It would be cheaper, quicker and less stressful to use the train from Melksham to these towns
Warminster station is too far. If say Codford station was to reopen, it would be a great help.
[From Salisbury] Strongly Agree - Trips to Head Office in Swindon
[From Salisbury] The benefit to my business would not be for employees commuting in but for travel out to Chippenham and Swindon.
The rail links would help companies meet future environmental targets regarding green commutes and help employees themselves find greener ways to commute to work
Quite a few employees would use the Wootton Bassett Station and other stations along the Wiltshire route to commute to the workplace
A more frequent rail service would be beneficial for our staff as there would be less of a reliance on the use of cars and of course the dreading cost of parking.
It would help in being able to recruit fromn further a field
Not on our commuting routes. Although for occasional head office meetings in Swindon it would be a great help.
do not operate normal business hours
Benefit from attracting customers.
Need to travel to London weekly, so a service from Trowbridge to Swindon/Chippengham would be very useful. More trains than from westbury.
Trowbridge is too far from the M4 corridor to significantly benefit from inward investement opportunities in that area. This locational disadvantage could be offset by a substanitally improved rail service across Wiltshire and serving Trowbridge. This would also open up a much larger hinterland for the town in terms of an employee and shopping catchment.
This could be further enhanced by the development of a genuine transport interchange based around Trowbridge railway station.
We are being asked more frequently re reducing carbon footprint and help reduce cars being parked at Hospitals,
[Over 500 employees, Trowbridge, on commuting staff] I think it could be, but you'd have to get over the perception of late trains, cancelations and industrial action. Also need to consider the times and price.
[Melksham] We do not need to attract employees but we do need to attract customers
[Melksham] To be closer to a functioning train station would help our business
Our employees are all local, but we would attract customers as our business brings clients to the area and many come by train
It's not our employees, but our customers that need the service and often have to drive because of poor connections
[Westbury] My business requires work at home or travel to London and the North. A direct train to Chippenham or Swindon will reduce travel time (and costs?) and make road travel a less valuable option.
bring customers to us by train and bus
We are an employment Agency and people are limited in the area if they dont drive and the public transport links in this area are very poor. It would be canddiates a much wider search for role sin the area and also help each town, by giving better public access
Half hourly would make it practicle for regular usage.
We're an unusual business in that most of our staff need to be available to start very early / finish very late, and most are within walking distance.
Not for working at our main base, but several of our staff work away regularly and use the train whenever possible. That's rare at present, but could become regular.
I think the TWR proposal is ill thought out and short sighted. It will only make sense if the service incorporates the existing Salisbury to Romsey service.
We have visitors almost every week who travel far and wide to reach us. When there was a better train service to our local station, about a half of them used to arrive by train; it's now only a tiny proportion of that, and they'll usually drive, or occasionally catch a taxi / getting a lift from another station which has a service that meets their needs.
[Salisbury] Use of Melksham station would be invaluable
It would be beneficial if the Wootton Bassett station was open both for staff coming to work and for travelling on business.
[Dilton Marsh / employee use] more than 50%
In relation to the Town attracting employees it would be a benefit but our staff are all local and this does not cause us a problem.
A regular service for staff to reach other businesses in the town must be an incentive.
My business would benefit more by bringing more customers. All my employees are Trowbridge based.
[Salisbury] We run training courses and often attend meetings in Swindon and Chippenham. This link would be very beneficial to both our employees and clients.
All our employees live locally but would use the route to attend meetings. But if this service existed new positions might be more attractive to people living further afield.
[no response to other questions except hourly commuter service] Would only be an advantage if the rolling stock used was obtained from outside the existing FGW franchise rather than robbing existing FGW rolling stock fleet which is already under strength for existing services.
[warminster - making business more accessible and competitive] Strongly agree - Easier for guests to arrive [We are a Bed & Breakfast business; High end of market]
[warminster] Especially if the trains could be timed to arrive between trains arriving on the Bristol Salisbury line.
We would encourage our clients to consder using this train to visit us in Warminster.
The Salisbury, Chippenham, Trowbridge link up with regular trains during the day would be an attractive alternative to driving
timing and reliability and rail cost have to be considered here. We are 1 mile from the proposed WB station so in the main we would strongly agree.
We want to employ graduates/school leavers but if they don't drive, they can't get to us, therefore we cannot employ them.
TransWilts Community Rail Partnership - http://www.twcrp.org.uk - firstname.lastname@example.org