Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Now and then we get the odd visitor stating (and they always start with ‘Of course you’ll never ...’) ‘Of course you’ll never get back to Bath,’ or ‘Of course you’ll never get through the infill at Chilcompton,’ or even ‘Of course you’ll never get back to Radstock,’ (my personal favourite!) I’ve never quite understood how seemingly everyone agrees that the S&D should never have closed, but then do everything they can to build (internal) barriers to us doing the obvious and that’s bring it back!
So there’s a big pile of dirt blocking the line south of Chilcompton ... the Bluebell are currently removing a much bigger pile from Imberhorne. But then I remember reading a letter in the Railway Magazine back in the 80s which began (inevitably) with ‘Of course they’ll never restore trains north of Horsted Keynes’.
Look at Swanage, Llangollen and the Gloucestershire-Warwickshire. All started with no track, an industrial loco or two and some big ‘problems’ for the future. Swanage was threatened with the Corfe Castle by-pass - just imagine if that had been built!! The GWR has been rebuilding their line steadily at the rate of a half mile a year - and have now just reopened a viaduct that’s just as big as Midford and a lot bigger than Tuckingmill. The Llangollen have been steadily rebuilding back towards Corwen and now have a magnificent line through scenery almost as good as ours!
All ‘difficulties’ are surmountable providing the will, the skills and the money are available. We have to always bear in mind that we’re restoring the S&D, and that there are more supporters per mile of track for us than just about any other line!
This is all without Peak Oil and Climate Change, which will work together to elevate rail to the primary (and in many cases ONLY mechanised) transport mode worldwide.
The hardest part was winning the site at Midsomer Norton, restoring the track and getting people to take us seriously. It’s all downhill from here - except for the trains tackling the Mendip gradients!