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, July 27, 2006

working together

We’re very aware at the S&D that we will need to work closely with other groups in the future as the line is restored. There’s a natural tendency to think that we are always right and other groups with other interests are always wrong, or ignorant. I’ve heard some choice comments about Sustrans from some members for example, but to my mind both us and Sustrans have an identical agenda for now and the future - to anticipate future transport changes now and make provision for them. We can co-exist totally, as long as we respect each other. There is plenty of room for both rail and cycleway between Bath and Bournemouth, at places we can share the same trackbed, at other points we will be able to work closely with Sustrans and other cycling groups to plan exciting and practical routes as close to the railway as possible. We need to offer reduced fares for cyclists, out by train back by cycle tickets, special trains for cyclists etc In return they need to make sure that they use our catering and other facilities along the route.

We also need to cater for walkers with similar special tickets etc, signposted walks from stations and dedicated walkways such as at the Wildspace area next to Midsomer Norton station.

We also need to ensure that visitors are not held too long at the railway, but that they are encouraged to visit the towns and villages along the route to help support the local economy.

We also need to work closely with schools and colleges so that the educational aspects of the line are easily accessed. It would be nice to offer skills training along the line, both practically-based and experience-based.

We also need to engage very closely with the local communities along the route and never be seen as outsiders, often a problem on other lines.

Most of all we need to listen! Posted by Picasa

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