A NEW train station at Royal Wootton Bassett is currently being considered as part of a scheme to open Wiltshire up to a new rail network.

In August 2012 Wiltshire Council commissioned Robert McClean, a transport planning consultant, to undertake a study to identify potential rail demand within Wiltshire.

His recommendations to improve services to meet the growing demand by 2026, with 37,000 new homes and 27,500 new jobs expected, include the construction of additional stations around the county and a Trans Wilts rail service to increase connectivity.

Due to projected housing and employment growth in the vicinity of existing rail stations, a substantial increase in train use is expected into 2026.

In an effort to provide a solution to this problem, a list of potential new rail stations were recommended for consideration by Wiltshire Council.

They include Royal Wootton Bassett, White Horse and Wilton, which would enable the commissioning of the Trans Wilts service.

In the report, Mr McClean wrote: “It is realised that only a small number of new stations are likely to have sufficient passenger demand, are able to fit into existing and future services, and are affordable.

“The feasibility and cost of new stops on existing services or providing new services is a key factor in determining the viability of new stations.

“It is likely that each of these new stations would involve platforms and footbridges without the need for trackwork.”

The new network is being recommended because it would not be possible to put extra stops into the existing links between London and South Wales.

“It is very unlikely that additional stops would be possible on the Great Western services between Paddington and Bristol, South Wales and the West of England,” Mr McClean said.

“These are long distance, high speed, limited stop services and additional stops at Royal Wootton Bassett, Corsham, Chippenham and Devizes Parkway would be too close to existing stations.

“New local services would be needed for these new stations, such as the Trans Wilts service for Royal Wootton Bassett or the Bristol-Swindon service for Royal Wootton Bassett.”

By 2026 it is expected 837 additional passengers every day would be boarding trains from Royal Wootton Bassett, and the new rail station would accommodate two new services, the new Trans Wilts line and a Paddington to Bristol extension.

Mr McClean added: “The improved Trans Wilts service would provide a small number of additional direct connections but would provide a large increase in train departures from Wiltshire stations and a significant increase in passenger boardings.

“It would also strongly support the case for three potential new stations to open, each of which shows high passenger demand.”

The new Trans Wilts is predicted to add six new direct connections around Wiltshire and 1,240 service improvements.

“Current proposals for the Trans Wilts service would add one additional train every two hours in each direction with the aspiration to increase the frequency to an hourly service,” said Mr McClean.

“There are on average four trains per hour in each direction between Swindon and Chippenham and there would be an additional train and a stop at Royal Wootton Bassett.”