TransWilts Community Rail Partnership has made strong representations to Great Western Railway to improve its services.

The move follows an "unacceptable level of cancellations" because of driver shortages during July and August.

TransWilts chairman Paul Johnson said: "Resulting cancellations have affected weekend services and the evening commuter service.

"We have made strong representations to GWR regarding solving the underlying causes of the service problems and in the short term providing suitable mitigating action."

GWR is providing a replacement bus service between Westbury and Chippenham when there are cancellations. The service will be included in the customer service information shown on GWR departure screens and on line information.

Mr Johnson said: “Whilst accepting a replacement bus service is not the same as a train, this replacement bus service is provided to ensure that our passengers can have confidence in being able to travel and get home even if the train is cancelled.”

A GWR spokesman said: We are committed to the route, to the CRP, to developing Melksham station and to getting back to the growth we know the line can sustain.

"Whilst the next few weeks will not be easy…having a clear alternative in the bus service will help and as driver availability eases we should get back to the improved reliable service that we all want for our customers.”

As well, TransWilts disclosed it has been awarded accreditation status by the Department for Transport.

Accreditation is formal recognition by the DfT that the community rail partnership operates to a high standard and that its objectives and activities are supported by Government.

TransWilts has recently gained full planning permission for its scheme to improve the Melksham railway station car park and café.

The partnership intends to create more parking spaces for users, and to convert the old Reed's building into a community hub and cafe with outdoor piazza.

It has acquired the former Reed's building close to the existing station car park on a lease from Wiltshire Council and is hoping to complete the development works by spring 2020.

Parking will be extended and charges introduced to fund the lease costs.