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!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

the golden age of rail ...

So just when was the golden age of rail? The beginning of the twentieth century when rail reigned supreme, before the hideous motor car made its appearance?

The 1930s when the streamlined expresses worked the main lines, and every place of any size was still linked to the network?

For the S&D fans the 1950s when the expresses and reliefs used to queue block-to-block from Bath to Bournemouth and back again?

For the trainspotters (RIP) the 1960s when there was a huge variety of steam, diesel and electric locos working a whole range of trains, before idiot Beeching wrecked the lot?

For me the 1970s when there was that strange atmosphere of neglect, rusting sidings and lifted branches, but also a time when you could still have a train to yourself and things could only get better?

Or today, with a huge increase in rail traffic, packed trains and bulging stations, when the only route now is expansion and the closures of the 60s and 70s are being reversed?

Or in fifty years time, with a hugely expanded network, no road competition, almost all freight carried by rail, the S&D restored throughout and wood-burning steam locos the order of the day? All fed by a vast network of light railways and tramways giving every town and village a railhead within a few miles at most? Posted by Picasa

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