Happily the passenger trains returned to Melksham from 13th May 1985 and although only a short section of the down platform is currently in use there are plans to extend it at the Chippenham end to accommodate the class 165-6 Turbo trains when they are cascaded to the Bristol area. The passenger service has had a very chequered history over the years but seems to be on the up at last and the line's prospects are probably better and stronger now than at any time since the early 1950s.
Picture 2 was taken on Saturday April 8th 2017 and shows brand new Colas loco 70813 on it's first revenue-earning working heading 6C26 1123 Hinksey (Oxford) - Bristol East Jctn engineers train consisting of seven open flat 'Salmons' loaded with new concrete sleepers plus one other empty wagon. 70811 is out of sight at the rear of the train (See P3). Both these locos were unloaded at Seaforth Docks, Liverpool on Thursday March 30th and, following checks and commissioning made their way south, first to Shrewsbury (Coleham) on Wednesday 5th then onto Bescot behind 56096 on the afternoon of 7th. Today (8th) the two locos ran light as 0Z67 0801 Bescot-Hinksey to begin their careers on the national network. The sleepers are for a renewal job taking place between Twerton Tunnel and Newton St Loe between Bath and Bristol. Due to other works involving closure of Bath Spa station the train was routed via Swindon, Melksham, Westbury and Castle Cary to Taunton where it reversed, 70811 then heading via Bridgwater, Nailsea and Bristol Temple Meads to the work site.
Many thanks to you Guy for this very detailed account of life and the future of Melksham station.
Guy Vincent / Keith Jenkin