In 2006 I was a founder member of the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group. We set this up to fight off the cuts to service proposed at the time.
Having fought off that threat we set about improving our service, our station and our relationships with the Network Rail and the train operating companies.
We are respected in the industry for our polite and professional approach.
In 2009 the DfT announced electrification as far as Newbury, axing our direct services to Paddington. This became the biggest fight of my life with campaigning, rallying and protesting. In 2017, with the promise of bi-mode trains, it was announced that we'd won our battle.
In 2013 I was awarded the Clara Zilahi Award for Best Campaigner by Rail Future. The citation read:
From 2009 to 2013 Steve Smith led the BTPG campaign to save Bedwyn’s direct Reading and Paddington service from downgrading to a diesel shuttle to Newbury. Keeping the issue alive through reports in the Parish News, targeted leafleting, TV, press and radio interviews, Steve also conducted a leafleting and email campaign for rail users to lobby their MP. He worked with Transition Marlborough and Pewsey Train Watch to gather empirical evidence on the impact of electrification to Newbury providing Kintbury Parish Council, Hungerford Town Council, Pewsey Train Watch and Westbury Town Council with information on the impact on local services. As a result, MPs pushed the DfT for a review which resulted in a study showing electrification to Bedwyn is economically feasible.
With Transition Marlborough, Steve campaigned to reduce the effect of bus cuts on the Marlborough rail link. He campaigned to align trains and buses and led campaigns demonstrating how alternative timetables could create savings to reduce cuts to the service and bus ticket prices.
Steve created and maintains Bedwyn Trains website www.bedwyntrains.org.uk, ensures timetables are delivered to homes, was a guest speaker at Railfuture summer conference in June and raises funds for BTPG.