Wiltshire Publications

Trans-Wilts train service success on 1st birthday

Horace Prickett, Graham Ellis and other dignitaries welcome a Transwilts train

Horace Prickett, Graham Ellis and other dignitaries welcome a Transwilts train

The Trans-Wilts train line which provides better rail services between Westbury and Swindon has more than doubled the predicted number of journeys made by passengers in its first year.

As campaigners celebrated its first anniversary with a cake and festive Father Christmas trains, it was revealed that the service, subsidised by Wiltshire Council, has been used more than 100,000 times by passengers over the past 12 months, more than double the number expected.

The project, which launched in December 2013 to improve travel for those travelling north-south through Wiltshire between Westbury and Swindon, stopping at Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham, was expected to be used by 45,000 passengers in the first 12 months.

For the past year there have been trains running every two hours on weekdays, including early morning and evening services in both directions, as well as an additional four trains on Sundays.

Horace Prickett, portfolio holder for transport at Wiltshire Council said, “The first year of the Trans Wilts improved service has been a resounding success. We are delighted that it has proven to be so popular.

“The hope now is that the improved service can be extended all the way to Salisbury, which would link the two main Wiltshire communities of Salisbury and Swindon.”

The Trans Wilts service is run by First Great Western with funding from the council and the Government for the first three years.

Celebrations at Westbury Railway Station on Sunday 14th December included a birthday cake for supporters of the campaign, as well as passengers.

The cake cutting preceded an anniversary journey from Westbury to Swindon, and there were also two Santa Special trains, for families and children to enjoy, as well as a ‘folk music’ train on Sunday evening.

Among those who attended the anniversary celebrations were Wiltshire Council members, volunteers of the Trans Wilts Community Partnership, local MPs Andrew Murrison and Duncan Hames, Westbury Town Council’s mayor Christine Mitchell, and First Great Western managers.

Graham Ellis, of the Trans Wilts Community Partnership, a volunteer group said, “Wiltshire has for years been well-served by trains travelling through the county horizontally. There are three lines running east to west through Wiltshire, but only one serving north to south and serving the centre.

“Our first year has been a great success, with the service proving very popular.”

For more information about the Trans Wilts line, including timetables and fares, go to www.connectingwiltshire.co.uk