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Maynard visits proposed Westbury-Salisbury extension to TransWilts line

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.

The proposed works would continue the extension of the TransWilts line that is making it one of the fastest-growing services in the country, as the line was used by 20% more passengers last year, up to 215,000 people.

The extension to the line would stop at Trowbridge and Westbury before arriving at the proposed new Wilton station and then going all the way through to Salisbury.

The one-off journey that the minister made yesterday was a sign of operators GWR and TransWilt CPR’s hopes to build on the services that have been added since 2013.

Over the last few years, improvements have also been made to rolling stock in the region as significant improvements were made to the capacity of trains on local suburban services, with two-car trains on the TransWilts line being added and upgrades like wi-fi being installed in carriages.

Speaking of the line extension, Maynard praised the hard work of operators in the west country, saying: “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.”

Mark Hopwood, managing director at GWR, added: “Working with Wiltshire Council and the TransWilts CPR we at GWR have been able to launch additional services on this line, improving rail links and further supporting the local economy

“I am delighted to be able to welcome the minister here today on this special, extended train service.”

Paul Johnson from TransWilts also expressed his excitement about the future works for Wiltshire’s network: “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.”

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Andrew Gwilt   03/03/2017 at 14:05

Sounds good. Wiltshire will have its new community railway to reopen with a new service to commence probably late this year or next year.

M.   04/03/2017 at 10:09

The line is not being "reopened", the proposal is for an extension of the existing "TransWilts" Swindon-Westbury shuttle through to Salisbury (all on existing lines). This would, if properly timetabled, increase the passenger service to 2tph/direction between Westbury and Salisbury and give that direct connectivity between Salisbury and Swindon. Anyone who has ever tried to go by road between the two will know just how awful it is. The extension is just that - an extension - but it will cost additional units, mileage and traincrew to operate. The big thing that is new is the proposal to reopen Wilton (GW) station, a town which could do with it, even though Salisbury station itself is on the Wilton-side of the city.

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