The PTW website was brought to its knees for a short time on Thursday due to an unprecedented number of hits in response to our passenger survey! We worked hard to get the site back up and running and eventually had to move to a larger server to cope with the traffic.
We'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for the outage and also to assure anyone who responded to the survey and was greeted by a page stating a 'CPU overload' that their response to the survey will have been registered and it was only the 'thank you' page that was down. Luckily the survey was being hosted on another site and it was only the redirect to the thank you page that was affected.
We still need people to fill out the survey between now and 9am Sunday (see link below) and thank you again to everyone who already took the trouble to participate in the survey.
Please check this page regularly for up coming events, reports on past events and relevant coverage in the media.
On Friday morning Steve Smith, who was kind enough to speak at the meeting detailing Bedwyn's experiences in campaigning to secure train services, took part, along with Claire Perry MP and Adrian Lyons, in a spot on Wiltshire Radio.
Our meeting was lead story on the news throughout the Matthew Smith show.
An edited version of the various segments is included here...
Gazette & Herald...
Nigel Kerton of the Gazette & Herald covered the issue on the 21st of September, interviewing passeners as they boarded the morning train.
THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE SURVEY IS 9am SUNDAY 24th March
Meeting at Portcullis House, Westminster
On Wednesday 12th March representatives of Pewsey Train Watch attended a meeting with Department for Transport officials and a team from ARUP, the consultancy firm engaged by the government to produce a report on the economic case for extending electrification beyond its current proposed cut-off point of Newbury. Along with PTW, representatives from Westbury Train Watch, Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group, Transition Marlborough, West Wilts Rail Users Group and Travel Watch South West were also in attendance. Also present were local MPs Claire Perry (Devizes), Richard Benyon (Newbury), Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire), Duncan Hames (Chippenham) along with local councillors Richard Gamble (Wiltshire Council), David Jenkins, Gordon King, Ian Cunningham (Westbury Town Council) and Peter Wheelhouse (Frome Council).
The purpose of the meeting was to allow ARUP to explain the criterion and methodology that will be used to determine if there is an economic case for extending electrification beyond Newbury and on to Westbury, with all the attendant service improvements that would bring. The meeting also offered an opportunity for interested parties to put questions and concerns to both ARUP and the government. Chaired by Claire Perry in her usual ebullient yet concise manner, the meeting was very positive and many points, questions and concerns were raised and all were addressed in a thoughtful and considered manner by both Martin Holt, representing the Department for Transport, and Stefan Saunders, Director at ARUP.
The aim of this meeting was not to reach any conclusions, but merely to engage with interested parties and to serve the interests of transparency. However, there is now a very small window of opportunity to contribute to the process. To that end, Pewsey Train Watch have prepared an on-line survey that attempts to put a monetary value on the trains' contribution to the local economy.
This is your only chance to contribute to the process so please take this opportunity to help ensure your county and local community gets the train service it deserves.
3/11/12 Claire Perry MP at Pewsey Station!
Claire Perry will be making an appearance at Pewsey Station at 7:45am on Friday 2nd of November. This is your chance to put your concerns to her in person and she has asked that we let everyone know.
Below is the press release from her office...
Claire Perry MP to Meet with Local Rail Users
On Friday 2 November Claire will be at Pewsey station from 7.45am and at Bedwyn from 5.30pm to meet rail users and to discuss current issues. Claire will also be meeting representatives of Pewsey Train Watch later that morning.
Claire has been working with Wiltshire Councillors and neighbouring MPs to meet Ministers and the franchise bidders and also engaging with the local rail user groups.
Claire says ‘Hundreds of people have got in touch with me regarding potential changes to train services from Pewsey and Bedwyn. I know how vital local rail services are to my constituents and the local economy and I am working to ensure that services are not compromised as a result of electrification or the franchise process.
Please do pop along to Pewsey Station from 7.45am or Bedwyn Station from 5.30pm, on Friday 2 November to see me if you can.’
5/10/12 Methodist Hall Meeting...
A very big thank you to all who attended Thursday night's meeting
at the Methodist Hall in Pewsey (4/10/12). It's fair to say that
the meeting exceeded all out expectations.
Some of you will be aware that there was some confusion regarding the
nature of the meeting and, indeed, it was originally intended to be a closed
'planning' meeting. In the end, as is the way with this interconnected
world we now live in, word got out and it turned into a very public meeting.
And all the better for it. In no time at all the room was filed to standing room
only and we were left in no doubt that there is a very real concern amongst
the residents of Pewsy and its surrounding communities over this issue.
It was particularly good to see so many non commuters turn out
alongside the travel weary rail warriors - a clear indication that
people understand that the ramifications of a reduced service
could effect the wider community and that this is not just
a commuter issue.
We must thank those that were kind enough to take the floor,
despite no-one having been expecting to speak in front of a
room full of people (note to self: next time you chair a meeting
bring notes so that you don't have to make it up as you go!).
So, thank you to Steve Smith and Bill Wells from the Bedwyn
Trains Passenger Group for their excellent contribution.
Steve gave an overview of Bedwyn's efforts to protect their train
services, while Bill detailed some of the possible options that might
be offered for Pewsey by those bidding for the new franchise. Both also
proved excellent at answering many of the questions later in the evening.
A thank you also goes out to Westbury councillor David Jenkins for making the trek and being kind enough to say a few words about what this issue means to Westbury. We rather sprung it on him so he did pretty well, considering!
And, of course, thank you for the many valid and interesting points aired by those in attendance.
We are currently digesting the many points raised and considering how we might draw upon the experience of those we met on the night. We had many kind offers from people who have something to bring to the PTW campaign and we will be contacting people once we decide on our next move.
Once again, thank you everyone for coming and for the very constructive and enthusiastic mood at the meeting. Be sure to check back on this page for the next meeting and for updates on progress.
21/03/13 Wiltshire Radio...
On Thursday evening Karl Lloyd from Pewsey Train Watch along with Devizes MP Claire Perry featured in a spot on BBC Wiltshire Radio's Drive Time Show With Lee Stone to discuss electrification and, in particular, the passenger survey. Although brief, the appearance provided a good opportunity to get the main points across and was valuable exposure in the short time that we have to collect data via the survey.
Below is the relevant section from the show.
20/03/13 Great Western Electrification Extension Study
The PTW Electrification Extension Passenger Survey was a great success with over 1,900 responses in the very short time we had available to host it online. To put that into context, in the same week the National Union of Teachers published a survey of members within it's national organisation of over 300,000 members which managed to elicit just 2,159 responses on an issue of national importance. So a huge thank you to everyone who took the trouble to respond - clearly this is an issue that is important to you! In fact, so great was the interest that the number of hits crashed our website shortly after we opened the survey, forcing us to move to a bigger server. The results throw up some interesting data and certainly highlight how important the trains are to the local economies served by the five stations along the proposed electrification extension route.
The final report was delivered to ARUP last week and is now available below for download.
Many thanks to all those who took the time to respond.
Thanks also goes out to the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group and in particular Steve Smith who gave many hours of help and support to our efforts in producing the survey. Thanks also to the other passenger groups up and down the line who helped spread the word.
Pewsey Train Watch
28/3/13 A SMALL VICTORY…
The Department for Transport have confirmed that the extension of the First Great Western franchise and the cancellation of the franchise bidding process means that the immediate threat to train services between Pewsey and Paddington has receded. The extension and recent further extension to First Great Western's tenure ensures "continuity of services" until 2016. This is good news and fulfils the original aims of Pewsey Train Watch though, of course, the issue of preserving our train services will return when the franchise once again comes up for bids and at this point there is no way of knowing what provisions for services will be contained in any future Invitation To Tender.
Pewsey Train Watch would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who signed the petition, wrote letters, turned up at meetings and generally made a noise. While it cannot be claimed that the PTW campaign was wholly responsible for the current turn of events we have been told by representatives from the Department for Transport that your voice was heard and did have an influence on the process.
For the time being it would seem that Pewsey Train Watch's work is done with regard to this particular issue, though we will be keeping a close eye on events and will keep you informed of any significant or interesting developments.