Wiltshire Publications

Improved train service from Westbury

As from Sunday 18th May, trains start earlier from Westbury, with an extra 08:26 service to Swindon. 

That’s over an hour earlier than any train at present, and with connections at Chippenham to Bath and Bristol, and at Swindon to Reading and London giving a new opportunity for a full day in Swindon, or in the capital.

The improved TransWilts services from Westbury now provide eight trains each way between Westbury and Swindon on Monday to Saturday, and up to seven trains on Sundays, bringing Melksham just 18 minutes, Chippenham just 28 minutes and Swindon 45 minutes from Westbury.

Until December 2013, the journey from Westbury to Swindon usually involved a change of trains at Bath Spa, and it cost £69 for a seven day season ticket. On the new shorter, quicker and direct services, the cost is just for a season ticket, £9.90 day return and £7.00 off peak return – that’s weekends and after 09:30 on Mondays to Fridays.

The additional services are funded for three years by the Department for Transport under a Local Sustainable Transport Fund grant through Wiltshire Council, and operated by First Great Western. The service is supported by the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership – business and resident groups, individual volunteers, the train operating company and local government working together, modelled on the highly successful Heart of Wessex Community Rail Partnership which has helped bring many more passengers onto the line from Westbury to Weymouth.

Within the last few weeks, the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership has been recognised nationally and is now a full member of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships. Graham Ellis, press and publicity officer for the partnership said, “This will enable us to bring best practise and expertise from elsewhere to play in Wiltshire, where we’re very much learning how to help promote use of rail services.”

Sion Bretton, chair of the Community Rail Partnership said, “The targets are realistic, and the very first figures show us running well up on where we need to be – however, the old adage ‘use it or loose it’ very much holds true to ensure this service runs far into the future. First Great Western, and Wiltshire Council under the ‘Connecting Wiltshire’ branding, are working closely together and with us to make this service a permanent success.”

Full timetables are available at stations, online on the First Great Western web site, and at various other outlets such as tourist information centres.  Tickets can be bought on the day you travel, although you may get a lower price on long distance journeys if you book them further ahead for a specific train.

A variety of railcard are available if you’re a regular traveller which can reduce offpeak prices even more, and in a group of three or more you can ask for a ‘groupsave’ on most offpeak services without a card, and get 34% off. So three adults, Westbury to Swindon and back on a Saturday will cost just £4.65 each.