Rail Minister travels on special TransWilts train to honour valuable role of community rail06 Mar 2017
Rail Minister Paul Maynard travelled on a special GWR 1005 Swindon to Salisbury TransWilts service on March 2nd to mark the role of community rail and to visit the proposed site of a new station at Wilton. He said:
“It was a pleasure to ride on this special TransWilts train today and see first-hand all the hard work which is going in to make this Community Partnership Railway successful.
“These railways are good for communities increasing revenue, reducing costs, increasing community involvement and supporting social and economic development.
“Across the country there are about 3,200 rail volunteers who work 250,000 hours per year, helping to improve stations and reduce vandalism.”
The TransWilts Line is one of the fastest growing lines in the country and has seen passenger numbers grow year on year. In 2015 there was over 215,000 journeys on the line, nearly a 20% increase on the previous year.
Last week’s special journey shows GWR’s and TransWilts CRP’s hopes of extending the current service from Westbury through to Salisbury. The train will stop at Trowbridge and Westbury before arriving at the proposed site of Wilton Parkway Station, before continuing to Salisbury arriving at 1122.
Paul Johnson from TransWilts added:
“We are delighted that the Rail Minister has chosen to visit TransWilts CRP so soon after granting us Designated Service status. In the last two years our passenger numbers have grown by 25% and since the service started in December 2013 Melksham station passenger numbers have increased five-fold. TransWilts, working with GWR, is playing an increasing role in connecting Wiltshire’s principal communities along the north – south Wiltshire corridor. I particularly want to thank our enthusiastic membership who continue to be such an essential part of our continuing success.
“During the Minister’s visit, as well as celebrating our Service Designation, we are demonstrating the potential of an extended TransWilts service. Our growth aspiration is to increase the service frequency and to extend the reach of the service south from Westbury via Salisbury as far as Southampton Airport.”
David Northey, Senior Strategic Planner at Network Rail said:
“It is great to see the growth of the TransWilts line in recent years and the benefit this has brought to the communities that it serves. Community Rail groups play a vital role in helping to improve services and with the proposed development of Wilton station it is a further indication of the success of the TransWilts line.”
Horace Prickett, Wiltshire Councillor, also added, “I look forward to the line becoming a true Transwilts joining Salisbury in the south and Swindon in the north”.