COMMUNITIES and passengers will have more say over the design and operation of train services on the TransWilts line, under a new rail plan announced by Rail Minister Paul Maynard today (Thursday, September 29).

This will allow the community to work with Great Western Railway to design train services according to local needs on the 32-mile route between Swindon and Westbury – known as the TransWilts line.

The aim is to increase passenger numbers, improve connectivity to key destinations and boost the local economy by designing train services according to local needs on the 32-mile route between Swindon and Westbury.

The partnership will have direct input in securing better services and station facilities for customers, including Chippenham and Melksham stations, which also fall under the proposals.

Mr Maynard said: “The TransWilts line is vital to local communities in Wiltshire and it is right that passengers will now have a greater say in the shape of its future.

“Designating the line as a community rail service will breathe new life into this route and ensure its long term future.

"Improved connections between Swindon and Westbury mean better journeys for customers and a boost for the local economy."

At the same time, the Government has decided to incorporate the additional services initially funded by Wiltshire County Council since December 2013 into the Great Western franchise.

Great Western Railway Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: "I am delighted that the TransWilts route between Westbury and Swindon is being recognised in this way.

​"Community rail provides some of our fastest growing and most reliable services, and customer growth our TransWilts services has been exceptional.

"Building on the six new TransWilts services launched in December 2013, we were very pleased to introduce a further two services in May working in partnership with Wiltshire Council and the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership.

​“I know they will continue to go from strength to strength following the decision to designate the line and I offer my sincere congratulations to all involved."