MEMBERS of TransWilts, the community rail partnership, say they "can't wait" for the opening of the new Hub Café at Melksham Railway Station.

The Hub Café will open on Monday, March 29 and will be available to the whole community not just rail passengers using the station.

Sophie Martin, TransWilt's community rail officer, said: "We can't wait to welcome you to the community Hub Café, which is located in a former commercial depot building.

"We have completed the restoration of the interior with a new kitchen and a new toilet with disabled facilities installed.

"The cafe will initially operate as a takeaway with outside tables offering a place to eat, drink, chat or wait for a train.

"We will be encouraging the use of the outside space for community events. Visitors will see lots of changes in the area with the replacement of industrial fencing."

The café even has a new manager, Sian Coppin, 29, who started in February after leaving the Harlees fish and chip restaurant in Bradford on Avon.

TransWilts' chairman, Paul Johnson, said TransWilts has spent around £30,000 on the refurbishment of the former plant hire depot, and up to £100,000 on making Melksham station fit for the dramatic increase in passenger numbers over recent years as the town has grown.

He said: "We are obviously delighted with the project and we are looking forward to the next big milestone which is the opening of the Hub Café.

"Our passengers will be able to go in a buy a cup of coffee while they are waiting for a train, and we are providing a building which can be used by the local community as well.

"This is the culmination of several years' work and we are delighted to deliver this project with help from the local community and parish council."

Project sponsors include Melksham railway systems manufacturer Knorr-Bremse, and Great Western Railway through its major projects fund, with further support coming from Melksham Town Council, and Wiltshire Council's Melksham Area Board and the Community Rail Partnership.

Future plans include recruiting more volunteers to help run the café, and bringing out parasols, tables and seating when the weather permits the outdoor piazza area to be used.

Mr Johnson and Miss Martin are hoping that local community groups, such as the Melksham Book Club and the local Alzheimer's Support day club will use the café and its outdoor area.

They are keen that local groups and organisations will use the new facility for community events to help breathe new life into the station area.

In 2011, Melksham station was used by only 11,000 commuters but since then passenger numbers have increased dramatically.

The Melksham Hub now serves more than 75,000 rail commuters who use the station to get to Chippenham, Swindon, Trowbridge,Westbury and beyond.

Mr Johnson added: "With a community population of 30,867 we expect a substantial growth in passenger usage of up to 450,000 by 2026."