CHIPPENHAM MP Michelle Donelan has called on the Department for Transport and South Western Railway to reverse planned cuts to direct rail services from Bradford on Avon to London Waterloo.

In a hard-hitting note to SWR managing director Claire Mann she urged her to reconsider the "appalling decision" to axe the direct services planned to take place in December.

She has also lobbied Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to ask for this "disastrous decision" to be reconsidered and the much- loved and important route to be reinstated.

The MP said: "I was very upset when I heard that South Western Railway had decided to cancel the much-loved direct train from Bradford on Avon to Waterloo.

"This proposed change will have a direct impact on my constituents who rely on this service for both leisure and business purposes.

"I strongly urge the managing director of South Western Railway to reverse this appalling decision and to re-instate this vital route between the South West and London.

"I am lobbying the Secretary of State for Transport to ensure he works closely with South Western Rail to reverse this proposed cancellation.”

Graham Ellis, a committee member of the West Wiltshire Rail User Group, vice-chair of Melksham RUG, and a board member of TravelWatch South West, has already urged local MPs to support the fight to save the service.

The Department for Transport has agreed to SWR’s proposals to cut direct trains from Bristol, Keynsham, Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge to London Waterloo via Salisbury in December.

If the direct service is scrapped, rail commuters will be forced to go to Bath or Salisbury to get to London for work or leisure.

Miss Donelan said: "This is completely unfeasible as the wait for the change at Salisbury is typically one hour.

"Moreover, the service at Bath/Salisbury only goes to Paddington - which does not have the same amount of transport links that the trains to Waterloo currently have."This will significantly increase travel price and travel time for constituents at a time when they can least afford it."

Mr Ellis has organised a meeting at 7pm on Wednesday (October 20) at the Bethesda Baptist Church in Gloucester Road, Trowbridge.

So far, more than 1,780 people have signed his petition to save the service to London Waterloo. To sign the petition, go to