Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'

The original Somerset and Dorset Railway closed very controversially in 1966. It is time that decision, made in a very different world, was reversed. We now have many councillors, MPs, businesses and individuals living along the line supporting us. Even the Ministry of Transport supports our general aim. The New S&D was formed in 2009 with the aim of rebuilding as much of the route as possible, at the very least the main line from Bath (Britain's only World Heritage City) to Bournemouth (our premier seaside resort); as well as the branches to Wells, Glastonbury and Wimborne. We will achieve this through a mix of lobbying, trackbed purchase and restoration of sections of the route as they become economically viable. With Climate Change, road congestion, capacity constraints on the railways and now Peak Oil firmly on the agenda we are pushing against an open door. We already own Midford just south of Bath, and are restoring Spetisbury under license from DCC, but this is just the start. There are other established groups restoring stations and line at Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone, and the fabulous narrow gauge line near Templevcombe, the Gartell Railway.

There are now FIVE sites being actively restored on the S&D and this blog will follow what goes on at all of them!
Midford - Midsomer Norton - Gartell - Shillingstone - Spetisbury

Our Aim:

Our aim is to use a mix of lobbying, strategic track-bed purchase, fundraising and encouragement and support of groups already preserving sections of the route, as well as working with local and national government, local people, countryside groups and railway enthusiasts (of all types!) To restore sections of the route as they become viable.
Whilst the New S&D will primarily be a modern passenger and freight railway offering state of the art trains and services, we will also restore the infrastructure to the highest standards and encourage steam working and steam specials over all sections of the route, as well as work very closely with existing heritage lines established on the route.

This blog contains my personal views. Anything said here does not necessarily represent the aims or views of any of the groups currently restoring, preserving or operating trains over the Somerset and Dorset Railway!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

early bath

These are the bufferstops placed at the Bath end of Midsomer Norton station. Hopefully their stay will be a short one as the Radstock extension should begin to take shape in everybody's minds well before the line begins to actually appear on the ground! Plans may take a northwards swing once we reach the infill at Chilcompton, beyond the tunnels. The cost of removing the spoil may be greater than the cost of replacing the two bridges on the way to Radstock. Always follow the line of least resistance when restoring railways!

Why Radstock? The main reason is simply that a station at Radstock, designed for the 21st century S&D, would be a more practical base for the line than the cramped site at Midsomer Norton, which is on a steepish hill with minimal parking on site. Radstock is flat! A station on the opposite side of the road to the Mining Museum would be a huge draw to passing traffic, as well as providing a natural added attraction to the museum. We are already the two major tourist attractions in the area, and are working closely together with an eye on developments over the next few years!

A return to Radstock will also concentrate minds on the Radstock-Bath line, which in an oil-depleted world will become Radstock and Midsomer Norton's principal connection with the outside world. Personally I see the Radstock-Bath line as firstly a 'real' railway, running commuter and freight trains onto the network and, ideally, into a revitalised Green Park station. But also it must become a premier league tourist route, taking hundreds of thousands from Bath through the stunning scenery at Midford and Wellow down to the tourist centres of Radstock and Midsomer Norton, and on down to Shepton Mallet, and eventually beyond. There will inevitably be billions of government money available in the coming decades for rail reinstatement as the roads grind to a halt. We need to be ready for this. The new station at Radstock needs to be designed for through running from the very start, preferably at a level where the Bath road can be bridged rather than crossed on the level. This will be a very busy route in the future, and at least for a few years there may still be enough road transport to cause conflict! And who could resist a triumphant return to Bath? Posted by Picasa

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