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!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

preparing for peak oil

It's not just the S&D and the Peak Oil enthusiasts who are looking ahead to a world without oil. The Swedish government are already planning for an oil-less future from 2020. Our own government, trailing as usual, is giving us a few clues that even they are preparing covertly for the inevitable.

Sustrans was a clever idea - pushing the responsibility of maintaining the future rail infrastructure to an NGO (at no overt cost to the taxpayer except those daft enough to play the Lottery!) was quite forward thinking, though I'd have preferred the French/Irish/Swedish route of mothballing the rail infrastructure with track and signalling intact! Sustrans shouldn't cry crocodile tears in twenty years time as their cycleways are grabbed back by a desperate government; at least the S&D will work with cycle groups rather than against them as Peak Oil hits home.

Have a good look where nearly all new supermarket development is taking place - it's invariably alongside existing or to-be-restored rail routes. The government hasn't quite made the quantum leap in thinking that will see future retail activity locally-based (ie no supermarkets) but they are half-way there! Putting supermarkets next to existing or future rail routes, in the government's thinking, means that they will still be able to be supplied with products once road transport is finished.

The real threat to road transport isn't simply Peak Oil, but the cost-benefits of maintaining a road network for a small number of private cars and public buses. It won't be economic, and taxpayers won't pay for an elaborate and under-used infrastructure that they won't have access to. As always discount the exotic 'oil-replacements' like biofuel, hydrogen or batteries. They will be vastly more expensive than fossil fuel and consequently not available to most of us. Watch over the next ten years as almost all infrastructure investment is switched from road-building to rail/tram building and the encouragement of rail and rail vehicle manufacturing within the UK (and elsewhere of course).

Every day brings us closer to the end of the Oil Age and to the reinstatement of the S&D throughout. Posted by Picasa

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