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!

Monday, July 17, 2006

reaching radstock ...

In a few years time rails should reach this point as we extend northwards over two new bridges to the classic S&D location of Radstock. The track would probably follow the line of the pavement - there is alternative space to walk through the Memorial gardens on the left, which occupy the site of the S&D station.

The white car is exactly where the old (and future) S&D level crossing was/will be. A short section of the route here has been tarmaced over, but being double track width it should be no problem comfortably accomodating both a single track and a cycleway and footpath.

This is the route of the S&D over the Five Arches, hardly looking like it's been almost 40 years since the track was lifted!

A classic and typical S&D lineside view which will soon be visible from the trains again!

It is possible that Radstock will once again have two stations, but this time both on the S&D! It may well be that we build a basic station this side of the Bath road at first to avoid a level crossing, close to the Mining Museum. Later as we rebuild back to Bath a larger station could be accomodated beyond the Mining Museum, on a large area of grass just to the north of the original station. Being flat and surrounded by car parks and unrestricted roads (whilst cars survive!) Radstock could offer better opportunities to join the trains than Midsomer Norton or Chilcompton, although we hope that all stations on the new S&D will be both destinations and originating points for journeys.

It was interesting to walk along the old formation high above the road and imagine it in fifty years time, with the railway very busy with passengers and freight (and all behind wood-burning steam) whilst the road is quiet and overgrown with the occasional bike, horse or pedestrian enjoying the shade and peace of the crumbling asphalt! Posted by Picasa


danZ said...

right on, nice to see some up to date photos of Radstock. Im amazed they havnt built over the site of the old station already, looks like prime real estate.

Peak Oil Dreams said...

It's pretty much protected by the Memorial Garden, which only opened last year. There are plans to build on the site of the old Great Western station at the moment. Plans to link Radstock with Frome have always met resistance as the council and development agency were convinced (and did a survey that backed them up) that Radstock Nortom people really only wanted rail routes to Bath and Bristol.

Perhaps in the back of their minds the councillors realise that Radstock will HAVE to be reconnected by rail eventually, so they've subconciously made sure the Bath and Bristol routes have been protected!

danZ said...

Well i cant understand the whole radstock frome situation, since the lines are virtually still there! Plus it would be good if both the S&D and the frome line could be linked together somehow.

Rockers said...

Good pics. If you could overcome the very thorny issue with the bridges radstock would be very possible and it would be great walking down norton high street and seeing the steam from the trains on the hill above. I dont agree that the short sighted councillors had any thoughts of protecting the route of the line considering that there is a housing estate across the line a few hundred yards from the radstock pic. All the best though, although I think some of your views on the disappearance of personal transport in the future are going a bit too far I'm fully with you on all your hopes and plans for the line. My membership application should be in the post this week.

PS With regards to the ex GWR site. I think its imperative that at least a route should be protected. The route is fully intact to frome and it should'nt be lost. Sadly the same can't be said towards Bristol