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!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

radstock revisited ...

Four more shots of the trackbed between Midsomer Norton and Radstock, likely to be part 2 of the reinstatement of the S&D in this area (after Midsomer Norton - Chilcompton Tunnel and before Chilcompton Tunnel - Chilcompton Station).

The trackbed is surprisingly clear and runs through attractive scenery the whole way with open views across the hills. Two bridges will need to be replaced.

Once Radstock is reached serious consideration can be given to the reinstatement of the line to Bath as both a public and tourist railway, which is likely to become one of the most important tourist attractions in the whole south west as well as a leading member of the 'premier league' of UK private railways. Posted by Picasa


Rockers said...

I admire your vision but isn't reaching radstock going to be very expensive. Silver street will have to be lowered by metres (Isn't there a gas main nearby as well?) and the gap across radstock road is massive. Do you have any support for this from the council?

Peak Oil Dreams said...

Yes, we do have support and are also able to gently utilise the rivalry between Radstock and Midsomer Norton!

One option is a lifting bridge at Silver Street. It may well be that there are 'scrap' bridges available that will fill the gaps. And we always have to remember that with the huge support and love out there for the S&D that finding the money will be a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'.

Anyway we have to reach Radstock to enable us to extend northwards towards Bath!

The likelihood is that the thrust of the S&D will switch from southwards to northwards once we reach the infill at Chilcompton, removal being a £2million job, which may well make the Radstock extension a more popular (and cheaper) move in the medium term.

We don't see 'problems' as insurmountable at the S&D, but rather as challenges that make the job more fun! There are going to be far greater challenges in the future, Prestleigh Viaduct being one, Sturminster Newton and Wincanton a couple more!

Rockers said...

BRILLIANT!! Having support is half the battle. Apart from the bridges the route is totally clear is it not? The lifting bridge could be a good option. Has anyone started to do any preliminary studies? Would take a fair amount of landscaping for a conventional bridge. Is the trackbed across silver street on the level with the station still?
I should imagine the bridge across Radstock Rd would be a much easier job, 2 abutments and a concrete span. They both would cost more than to dig out the infill though would'nt they? The trust should buy a couple of JCB's and do it themselves!!

Still, I admire your no problems too big attitude thats what it needs and yes these are small compared to no viaduct at Prestleigh (Why did they knock that down? Was'nt it done quite recently?)

Peak Oil Dreams said...

We've had our eye on a couple of bridges up near Heathrow which we could possible acquire for the scrap value.

I think the trackbed on either side of Silver Street is level, and as far as I'm aware there are no insurmountable obstructions on the route down to Radstock - certainly at the Radstock end the track is totally clear (and ballast still visible) all the way to the Somervale Road crossing. In fact there are no totally insurmountable obstacles anywhere on the route Bath to Bournemouth that cash, dedication and the converging crises of Peak Oil and Global Heating won't overcome!

Toddingtonted said...

Thanks for all the pictures showing the developments at Midsomer Norton (I am a member but have yet to visit)and at other locations. Regrettably I believe its now far too late to try to reopen the S&D as it was (it could never be as it was anyway) and many people find railways to be a source of derision and a nuisance (especially if their housing has appeared near or on the trackbed over the years) rather than something worthwhile as we do. I wonder where all these tourists are going to come from? A far bigger problem than global warming and lack of fuel is a lack of volunteers on these heritage lines - that's going to be your biggest difficulty, together with competition for funds from the ever more demanding heritage railway movement. Having been involved (off and on) with the restoration of a heritage line and a certain GWR (can I say that on an S&D site!) steam locomotive for over 20 years I do have some experience in this. That said, its great when you can achieve something and Midsomer Norton certainly has!