Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Looking forward a couple of decades the biggest problem facing the S&D will be managing the amount of custom that we'll be getting. Everything from heavy tourist traffic, freight movements and commuter services will need to be accomodated, in places on single track. If you look at the road traffic flows today on the Radstock-Frome, Radstock-Bath and Radstock-Bristol routes it's clear that after Peak Oil hits it is going to be a major job keeping things moving. As always the worry is that the government of the day will not take us seriously as operators of a real railway unless we can show right from the start that we know what we're doing. A priority now is that we acquire as much track (and trackbed) as possible. You can always support us by making a cheque out for our trackbed fund, or even pledge a certain amount each month via direct debit. Please contact SDRHTSales@aol.com for more information, send cheques to SDRHT, Midsomer Norton South Station, Silver Street, Midsomer Norton, RADSTOCK, BA3 2EY, or make a donation via the donation button on the blog sidebar (noting that it's for 'Trackbed').
It's interesting to speculate on future train services over the next twenty or thirty years. Heritage trains will always run, though these will tend to be primarily at weekends and in the summer. A lot depends on how much line is reinstated, I'd certainly expect Shepton Mallet to Bath to be restored, hopefully with trackworks extending southwards towards Templecombe. Commuter services from Shepton to Bath would be heavily patronised, particularly from Midsomer Norton northwards. There should be some freight flows as road freight begins to become totally uneconomic. There should be large tourist flows out of Bath connecting with tourist facilities to the south. There would be heavy use into Bath by shoppers, particularly at the weekend.
We're certainly not discounting restoring the line back to Bristol from Radstock, or using the old Limpley Stoke to Midford line as a second route between Midford and Bath.
And although the line south of Templecombe often seems very distant to us it will certainly not be written off - holiday passenger flows from Bath/Bristol to Bournemouth, particular in a much warmer world without civilian air traffic, could be enormous, far surpassing the line's previous holiday heyday in the 1950s. It may well be that Shillingstone expands over the coming decades to provide a southern version of the SDRHT!
We also shouldn't ignore the potential of the branches. Wells and Glastonbury are both major tourist attractions, a restored branch back to Evercreech Junction would not be a major engineering task. And further south there is huge potential in the Ringwood/Wimborne/Blandford area, which will certainly need commuter services into Bournemouth once the roads have gone!