TransWilts and Chippenham Rail User Group (CHRUG) volunteers carried out a passenger and station survey during the last week of January between 28th-30th January and on 2nd February.

Despite cold weather and snow the team of 13 volunteers completed a comprehensive survey covering most of the day’s operations. The survey was used to inform GWR and Wiltshire Council of the current issues affecting station operation in advance of a consultants design brief for improvements at Chippenham Station.

In summary 196 passenger surveys were completed and 6721 entries and exits were recorded through 4 entry/exit zones. Chippenham passengers accounted for 87% of the users with 51% living in Chippenham, 11% Calne, 6% Corsham, 6% Malmesbury and 5% Swindon. Most popular destinations were 45% Bath, 27% Bristol Temple Meads and 18% Paddington.

The surprising outcome from the survey was to find an almost 50%/50% split between north side and south side entrances. The conflict zone on the north side pedestrian bridge exit and the weighbridge car park entrance was identified.

Luke Farley from GWR attended a CHRUG debrief meeting on 18th April and advised that it had been agreed with Wiltshire Council that the consultants brief was to be  amended to include a north side design study. Network Rail are working on a north side lift installation by 2020 and GWR are to carry out a ground study of the impact of the lift passengers exiting onto the north side conflict area with car traffic.

Paul Johnson said ” We were proud of the commitment of our volunteers to complete the survey in such difficult weather. But we are delighted with the response from GWR to the survey contents. We can truly say that we are making a difference to the Chippenham Station design outcome on behalf of the Chippenham community as a whole. Whilst we do not expect every issue to be put right overnight, like ticket machine reliability for example, we are sure that GWR are listening and that the design outcome will be much better for Chippenham as result of the survey information.”