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!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

norton-radstock cries out for trains!

This was the scene on the main Midsomer Norton to Radstock road this morning!

And all because this lorry decided to park.

Any of us who is unfortunate to have to use roads regularly know they simply don't work. They were made for a different age and their time is almost over.

We need to start switching most if not all freight to the railways over the next decade or so. This will help preserve energy supplies and improve the urban and rural environment. Road space should free up a little, particularly when petrol prices really begin to soar. But at the end of the day what everybody will soon be clamouring for is new railways and tramways.

Radstock and Midsomer Norton have a joint population of over 25,000. Even without Peak Oil this is a ludicrously large area to be without proper public transport. Although what we are doing at Midsomer Norton won't be serving a genuine transport purpose (at least until we reach Chilcompton proper) we need to be aware that the switch in emphasis towards Radstock will begin to see the creation of a genuine new transport route. I'm sure that as soon as we triumphantly return to Radstock all the talk will be of returning to Bath. Midsomer Norton to Bath will be an essential transport link, my biggest fear is that line capacity (particularly once we're carrying freight) will soon be all taken up and we may even need to consider a second route to Bath (via Limpley Stoke and the old Camerton line at Midford) thanks to the near impossibility of doubling between Midford and Bath. Posted by Picasa


Rockers said...


There's even less of the Camerton line left than there is of the S&D or GW line to Bristol!
Trains will have to be popular to get this one back, it was never a success in its day.

Peak Oil Dreams said...

It wasn't really a success as it was designed for a totally different reason, as an alternative access to some of the coal mines in the area. We'd only look at it as an alternative route to ease congestion on the single line section from Midford to Bath, not as a passenger or heritage operation as such. It may be of course that a restored Radstock-Bristol route would also serve the same purpose of reducing congestion north of Radstock. At the very least the Bristol-Frome line will need to be restored between Bristol, Whitchurch and Pensford (short of the viaduct), and this may well encourage attempts to restore back to Radstock. Certainly some on the S&D Board favour the restoration of this route throughout.

Trains will be popular in the decades to come simply because there won't be any other realistic option for the vast majority of us. Even today rail use is increasing beyond the capacity of the network, well before we aee real Peak Oil/Cimate Change effects coming into play. We're hoping to avoid the scramble to rebuild lines by getting in early! Otherwise capital, labour and material resources will dry up in many areas.

Rockers said...

It would be far easier to restore from Pensford to Radstock. The GWR route is in a very bad way through out but it has been comprimised even more so north of Pensford, several housing estates and the showcase complex immediately spring to mind

This line would be as important to commuters in NR as the S&D. Shame the short sighted fools of the last 40 years did'nt have a bit more vision.

I agree though trains are getting more popular, to the point that we are running out of capacity.