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, August 28, 2006

limited horizons

Heritage Railway leads with a rather downbeat editorial this month, concluding 'Many marvels have been accomplished by the heritage movement. Maybe it is time to take a breather, rest on our laurels and reinforce what has been achieved by a period of consolidation and contemplation.' This is reaction to the reopening of the Weardale Railway.

Sorry, but the time will NEVER come when we can rest on our laurels. There are still huge swathes of the country that are devoid of real railways, that is forward-looking private lines that are looking to the future - a car-less future - as a challenge to start meeting NOW. At no point does the editorial mention Peak Oil or climate change, as if heritage railways exist purely to transport tourists from one tourist spot to another! True, for most of us, that is our function today, but does anyone with a brain in the heritage movement think that that is the be-all and end-all of what we're doing? I certainly hope not!

Surely we restore railways because first and foremost we regard them as a superior form of transport, efficient, environment-friendly, human sized and atmospheric? The world is now changing so that our agenda will soon become that of everybody, or at least everybody that wants some semblance of civilization to continue into the solar future.

Not only should we not rest on our laurels, but we should be constantly pushing our agenda to give as many people as possible the right to a functioning railway when the oil runs out. We should be doubling our efforts and restoring hundreds of miles of track each year. We'll regret it if we don't! Posted by Picasa

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