The Anonymous Widower

The Newly-Decorated White Horse Room In Westbury Is Open For Bookings

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Wiltshire Gazette And Herald.

This is the introductory paragraphs.

A disused room at Westbury Railway Station has been transformed into a office area and community space.

The community rail partnership, TransWilts, has announced the completion of work to refurbish and redecorate the Westbury White Horse room.

It is an interesting concept and I’ll be interested to see how it all works out.

June 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Cheering Community Rail Story From Wiltshire

This article from the Wiltshire Times is entitled Station Scheme Gets Under Way.

The article talks about Melksham station and how the Transwilts Partnership and Great Western Railway are improving the station.

  • A new community cafe, 53 car parking spaces and a bus interchange will be provided.
  • GWR will lease land from Wiltshire Council and lay out and manage 75 parking spaces.
  • Transwilts appear to be funding the community cafe.
  • Car park improvements will be paid for by new parking charges.
  • Passenger numbers have grown from 10,000 in 2013 to more than 75,000 last year.
  • GWR have doubled the number of carriages on the route.

The last two points, must mean that everybody involved must be doing something right.

I’ll finish with this quote from Dan Okey of GWR.

We believe very strongly in community rail and in this route and we want to see it continue to grow.

This partnership between GWR and the local comminity rail partnership, could and should be copied elsewhere.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Scenic Rail In Britain

The Association Of Community Rail Partnerships have put all the scenic rail lines on one web site called Scenic Rail In Britain.

Links to  Heritage Line websites are also included.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

An Extension To TransWilts

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Maynard visits proposed Westbury-Salisbury extension to TransWilts line.

This is said.

The proposed site of a new station at Wilton that would connect Westbury and Salisbury was visited by rail minister Paul Maynard yesterday, as the MP travelled on a special GWR 1005 Swindon to Salisbury service to mark the role that community rail was playing in the region.

I like the concept of TransWilts, which I wrote about in A Trip Around Wiltshire.

I think it just shows how rail can be developed in rural counties. According to the article, TransWilts carried 20% more passengers last year.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

London Gets Its First Community Rail Partnership

There are over fifty Community Rail Partnerships in the UK. This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry.

The Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) supports its fifty or so member CRPs and also offers assistance to voluntary station friends groups that support their local stations through the station adoption scheme. Since 2005 the Department for Transport has formally designated a number of railway lines as community rail schemes in order to recognise the need for different, more appropriate standards than are applied to main line railway routes, and therefore make them more cost effective.

As the numbers keep increasing, I suspect that central and regional government, local authorities, passengers rail companies and staff, think they are a good idea.

Today’s in some ways surprising news, is that London is to get its first Community Rail Partnership in Hounslow. Sewvn stations are involved on the Hounslow Loop Line.

This article in Rail Technology Magazine gives more details of the partnership.

How many more Community Rail Partnerships will London embrace in the next few years?

November 24, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Station For Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is difficult to get to by public transport. Not that I ever have, as although I’ve been past the monument many times, the only time I’ve been was in the last year at Primary School, when we had a field trip to Dinton in Wiltshire. In those days you could walk unhindered amongst the stones and I do feel that any trip now would be an anti-climax.

But according to this article in the Salisbury Journal entitled Designs for new Wilton Parkway project unveiled, it’s going to get a lot easier to get to Stonehenge. The article says this.

Designs for a new railway station at Wilton have been unveiled.  The vision for Wilton Parkway has been outlined in a brochure, which includes architects impressions of what the site could look like, which would be built adjacent to the existing Salisbury Park and Ride in Wilton.

It would be on the Salisbury to Bristol line and part of the Trans Wilts route which will run north to south in the county.  The brochure says it would “provide new capacity for passengers to access the National Rail Network using direct trains to London, Southampton, Swindon, Bristol and Cardiff” and support sustainable access to Salisbury with a highly attractive five minute journey time”.

The new station would also “offer a fast, high capacity rail-bus link to the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge”.

This is an early artists impression of the station.

Wilton Parkway Station

Wilton Parkway Station

It would appear that one of the driving forces behind this new station is Transwilts, which is the local Community Rail Partnership.

Hopes are that the station will open in 2019. I hope they’ve checked for bats, newts and Nimbys!

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

East Suffolk Gets A Community Rail Partnership

The two East Suffolk Lines out of Ipswich to Felixstowe and Lowestoft are being proposed for a Community Rail Partnership. It’s reported in Modern Railways, but strangely not in the East Anglian Daily Times.

I have travelled these lines occasionally over the last few years and still go to my long-suffering dentist in Felixstowe. I have only been to Felixstowe once since the opening of the Bacon Factory Curve, but it does appear that this development has made trains on the East Suffolk Lines more reliable and better to time.

The Ipswich to Felixstowe branch, must have one of the simplest schedules anywhere on the UK rail network. A single Class 153, just trundles up and down the line every hour over a dozen times a day.

A Community Rail Partnership can only benefit the line.

So what enhancements would I like to see on the Felixstowe branch.

A two coach train should probably be used, as at times the line gets busy and increasingly there are passengers with bicycles.

But the line doesn’t necessarily need a train with a toilet, as Ipswich and Felixstowe stations both have excellent facilities.

One thing I’d like to see is better interfaces with the buses at Felixstowe, but as ever the information is as visitor-unfriendly as you will find. It should at least have a town circular that goes to all the important places in the small town, arriving and leaving at the station convenient for the trains.

It should also have bike hire.

So let’s hope the Community Rail Partnership improves the line.

One possibility that might happen is electrification to Felixstowe Port, which would completely transform this line, Then an old electric multiple unit with perhaps three coaches, could be saved from the scrapyard and given a well-deserved sprucing up and retirement on the Suffolk coast.

I don’t know the Lowestoft line as well, but properly looked after by a Community Rail Partnership, it could be a serious asset to the towns on the route.

One thing is missing from the services back to London from Lowestoft and Felixstowe is the lack of a late train to get back to Ipswich and on to London.

The last train from Lowestoft leaves after nine on most days and at 20:05 on Sundays, whereas the last train from Felixstowe leaves just before half past nine all the week.

It’ll be good to see how the rail services develop in this proud part of Suffolk.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip Around Wiltshire

I went from Waterloo to Salisbury and then onto the to the TransWilts to Swindon before coming home on a High Speed Diesel Train.

The train rides were enjoyable, through the countryside bathed in sun.

They did show some of the best and worst that trains in the UK have to offer.

The trip down to Salisbury was in a spotless Class 159, which probably because of the late morning time was rather empty. It was a diesel train, as no-one ever got round to extending the electrification on from Basingstoke.

I found Salisbury difficult, as the maps and signage were terrible. I couldn’t even find anyone, who knew where the street I needed was located.

Salisbury station  was rather nice, even if the Pumpkin buffet was its usual self, with no bottles with proper caps and no change. There used to be jokes about British Rail catering and Pumpkin don’t seem to have improved over the years.

I found Salisbury difficult, as the maps and signage were terrible. I couldn’t even find anyone, who knew where the zstreet I needed was located.

On from Salisbury to Westbury it was in a very crowded Class 150. This seemed to be mainly due to Glastonbury travellers many of whom were carrying lots of luggage.

Westbury station was busy with lots of freight trains passing through and full trains taking travellers to Castle Cary for Glastonbury.

The station also had a non-Pumpkin buffet, where I bought a nice coffee and a banana with a curve as delicious as the fruit. We need more independent rail caterers like this. It is mentioned in this list from the Gusrdian.

On fom Westbury to Swindon it was a single coach Class 153, which was again spotless, but it had a hideous mainly green interior.

But after a couple of stops, it brought me to Swindon for a very crowded High Speed Train to London.

It had been a mixed day, with the undoubted low point of Salisbury, the station’s buffet and the train I took from there to Westbury.

It could have been a lot worse, as the driver at Westbury had trouble releasing the brake on the Class 153. I didn’t hear any signs of a large wrench being used as a hammer, so he must have persuaded the train to release her brake by kindness or some other acceptable method. Or it could be that the cheery conductor, used her undoubted good humour.

At least the day was sandwiched by two rides in diesel trains at high speed.

The Transwilts Community Rail Partnership, appear to be making a good fist of creating a frequent rail link across Wiltshire. I’ll go again in a couple of years, to see if they have found a cure for their nauseas train. But I won’t go anywhere near the area at the time of Glastonbury.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments