Transport Blog

Blog for posts that are specifically about the Transport Group activities
Published by Sam Page on 15 November 2011

Bedwyn station is currently served by diesel turbo trains from Paddington or Newbury and the occasional fast diesel train to/from Exeter and Plymouth. This is set to change once the line is electrified. However, as electrification will only come as far as Newbury, The Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group have written to both Claire Perry (MP that covers Bedwyn and Marlborough) and Richard Benyon (MP that covers Hungerford and Kintbury) asking them to investigate how this will affect Bedwyn station. They both received the same reply from the Transport Minister, Theresa Villiers – after the year 2016 the diesel Turbo trains will not be allowed to run between Reading and Paddington. This means that Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn would be on a diesel Turbo shuttle service to Newbury or Reading.

It is proposed that through services to Exeter will be in two categories –

(i) A fast service between Paddington and Exeter (first stops Reading and Taunton) using the existing HST trains and

ii) A semi-fast service, using new IEP trains (these are bi-mode trains that can run under the wire to Newbury and then diesel thereafter), between Paddington and Exeter (stopping at additional stations such as Newbury, Pewsey and Westbury).

There is a danger that neither the fast service nor the semi-fast service will stop at Bedwyn in future.

BTPG are running a campaign to get our frequency of service and stops at Kintbury, Hungerford and Bedwyn on all the semi-fast IEP Paddington to Exeter service, included in the forthcoming franchise document for the Great Western route.

Please support them by writing to Claire Perry MP: claire.perry.mp@parliament.uk  or at “House of Commons, London , SW1A 0AA ” and ask her to continue to petition the Department for Transport to include this proposal in the forthcoming franchise document for the Great Western route.

You can respond to the government's consultation on the Great Western Franchise Replacement, here...

To find out why electric trains more environmentally-friendly than diesel trains, click here.

Published by Sam Page on 31 October 2011

The Department of Transport has found an extra £10 million which it intends to allocate to rural transport authorities to encourage the growth of community transport in their area.  Apparantly this was made possible due to 'careful management of departmental spending during 2010-11'.

Can the community transport sector make up for the loss of the many subsidised bus services that have occured as a result of recent local goverment cuts?  

The Transport group is currently working with the Bedwyn Trains Passengers Group to conduct a survey of Marlborough commuters in order to find out whether they would use a dedicated minibus to travel to and from Bedwyn station, instead of their cars.  If enough people say 'yes' we could apply for our portion of this £10 million so that Marlborough could follow Ramsbury's example and have its own community bus.

Published by Sam Page on 12 October 2011

The makers of the award-winning Smith Edison electric van have now turned their attention to creating an electric powered minibus, the prototype of which was premiered at the CV Operator Show 2010.

The green vehicle will be the first 17-seater electric minibus in the UK. The model is currently in production and is based on the Ford transit chassis. Once complete the manufacturers say the electric minibus will be able to reach top speeds of 50mph, will boast an 80 mile battery range, plus it will take 8 hours to completely recharge the battery.

A battery, which is installed underneath the minibus so as not to take away from the passenger space, is at the centre of the technology which will run the vehicle.

Once the minibus is up and running the manufacturers expect the vehicles will be popular for use as airport shuttles, to transport tourists to attractions, and for city trips. Interest in the 17-setaer electric minibus is expected to be huge due to its seriously green credentials and its ability to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

Smith Edison also has 12-seater and 15-seater electric minibuses available. The vehicles have very low running costs when compared with petrol fuelled minibuses, they emit zero emissions, and can be charged fully overnight.

This article was written by Louise Williams, 21/04/2010


Could a dedicated service to Bedwyn Station, using this type of minibus encourage Marlborough's commuters to leave their cars in the garage, thereby cutting CO2 emissions and reducing the parking problem in the Knapp?


Do you regularly commute via Bedwn Station? Click here to provide your input for this idea.

Sign up here to join the Transport Group's campaign for improved public transport in and around Marlborough.

Published by geoffbrickell on 07 October 2011

The authoritative UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has carried out an analysis of the impact of enforcing the current 70mph speed limit or raising the limit to 80 mph on the motorways of the UK.

Current emissions from passenger cars make up about 15% of total UK CO2 emissions. Whilst newer car technologies are more efficient at higher speeds, a medium sized family car still uses about 15% more fuel at 80mph than 70mph.

UKERC researchers Dr Jillian Anable, University of Aberdeen, and Dr Christian Brand, University of Oxford, calculate that raising the speed limit to 80mph will increase CO2 emissions from cars by almost 2% per annum, if the current enforcement policy continues.

For a more detailed summary of this UKERC work click here.

Published by geoffbrickell on 01 October 2011

Image Broadband services are now widely considered as an essential service, and the availability of reliable and adequately performing services is already important for most households and businesses and is becoming vital for many domestic and business activities.

Tele-working or home working is now a common occurence for many people and this can have a significant impact on minimising transport costs and inconvenience, with resultant benefits to our environment. However for home working to be completely successful a good broadband service is essential - so that working from home can be no different to working from an office when communicating and interacting with customers, suppliers and co-workers.

To understand how the broadband services are actually performing in the area, Marlborough Area Development Trust (MADT) is undertaking work to provide some real performance data on an ongoing basis that they will report on, and can then be used to lobby for improvements as appropriate.

They need everyone's help to do this however - its free and its easy - so read more about their programme here and then contact them so that you can join the programme and help.

Published by Sam Page on 30 September 2011

Biodiesel is a carbon neutral fuel which can be used to replace convenional diesel. It is derived from a process known as transesterification whereby the oils produced by oliferous plants (typically in the UK we are talking about rapeseed or sunflower oil as the major sustainable sources) are combined under the correct conditions with a methoxide catalyst to cause separation of the oil into usable fuel oil and glycerol by-product. 

In layman's terms, transesterification can be thought of as the process of converting one ester into another ester. An ester is a chemical combination of fatty acids attached to alcohol. Animal and vegetable fats, oils and biodiesel are examples of esters. 

If both vegetable oil and biodiesel are esters, why is it not practical to use vegetable oil in a diesel engine instead of going through the process of creating biodiesel? In other words, why is there a need for transesterification? 

The answer lies in the difference in viscosity, that is the thickness or resistance to flow, between the two esters. Vegetable oil has too high a viscosity for diesel engines, designed for fossil diesel, to cope with. This is because the constituent alcohol molecule of the vegetable oil ester, glycerol, is very large. Hence we need to reduce the thickness of the vegetable oil by replacing the glycerol with an alcohol that is smaller in molecular size, methanol, and thus create a different ester.




This is what the process of transesterification allows us to do. By converting the vegetable oil ester into the biodiesel ester, it separates the larger glycerol molecules from the fatty acids within the vegetable oil. The methanol combines with the fatty acids producing smaller methyl esters thus creating the more free flowing biodiesel.

Given that transesterification is the process of converting one ester into another, it has to be noted that the process is reversible. This point is highlighted in the section on How to make Biodiesel.


Benefits of using biodiesel:

  • Better lubricity resulting in longer life for diesel engines
  • Sustainable production
  • Significantly kinder to the environment
  • Improved fuel economy - up 8%
  • Much lower fuel duty - around 20 pence per litre cheaper than fossil diesel

N.B. Biodiesel that is made from used vegetable oil releases land for food crops. 

Published by Sam Page on 28 September 2011


Marlborough used to be served by two separate railway stations whose histories were intertwined. The two stations were built by different railway companies, the Great Western Railway and The Midland and South Western Junction Railway, which started as competitors but ended up under the same ownership. This led to some complex rationalisation in the operation of the railway lines that served the town.

The Railways Act 1921 grouped most of the railways in mainland Great Britain into four large companies, and the Midland and South Western Junction Railway was incorporated into the Great Western Railway, its rival for the rail traffic at Marlborough. For a few years, the GWR did nothing to rationalise the anomaly of having two parallel lines running into the town, but it did rename the stations. Confusingly the former GWR stations were named Marlborough High Level and Savernake Low Level, while the former M&SWJR stations were renamed as Marlborough Low Level and Savernake High Level.

Then in 1926, the GWR reopened the 1883 link between the two lines just outside the two Marlborough stations, enabling trains from the main line junction at Savernake Low Level to pass through Marlborough on to the north.

But the real changes came in 1933. The GWR built a second link between its original branch line and the M&SWJR line much nearer Savernake and closed the original branch and station in Marlborough to passenger traffic. The goods yard at Marlborough GWR station was retained, but was accessed from the north through the Marlborough M&SWJR station using the link that had been restored in 1926.images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS1cSIowZnLJ-FbKIs7ahb

 All passenger services were rerouted to the M&SWJR station at Marlborough. The GWR chose to operate the double track M&SWJR line as two separate single track lines: the former up line (towards Swindon) was used for the branch services from Savernake Low Level while the through north-south services which passed through Savernake High Level all ran on the former down line. This odd arrangement persisted through into British Railways days.

The Midland and South Western Junction line was very heavily used for troop and other military movements across Salisbury Plain in the Second World War, but after the war both passenger and goods traffic declined sharply in competition with road transport. Marlborough, about midway between London and Bath/Bristol, had become a focus for long-distance east-west bus services and the railway found it difficult to compete. The whole line closed for passenger services in 1961 by Dr Beeching, and that included the remaining branch line service from Savernake Low Level.

Click here for more information.

If you want to find out how to re-open a train station, click here:

First PagePage: 3/3