Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Thursday, July 27, 2006
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!