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, September 04, 2006

scottish lessons

The Waverley route is on its way back after 37 years. The line originally ran from Carlisle to Edinburgh through the wild and bleak border country, but was controversially closed in 1969, the last major rail closure in the UK. Now 35 miles between Edinburgh and Tweedbank are about to be rebuilt, thanks to the Scottish parliament. Sixty houses are to be compulsorily purchased and demolished.

The S&D and Waverley routes had a lot in common – heavily engineered main lines serving a few major towns and many villages, lifelines for the communities through which they ran, especially in winter, both with a very loyal enthusiast and local support base and both essential routes in the future.

I’ve reproduced below a recent article. Wonder how long it will take us to get our first 35 miles open?

Green light for Borders Rail
25 July 2006

The Waverley Railway (Scotland) Bill has received Royal Assent.
This represents the last milestone on the legislative process for the Borders Rail Line and the project, which will be delivered by Transport Scotland, is now cleared to progress.
Welcoming the news, Transport Minister Tavish Scott said:
“I am delighted that this important rail project has now been given the green light.
“This rail line will increase the economic opportunities and improve quality of life for communities in Midlothian and the Borders – connecting them not only to Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland, but through the Edinburgh airport rail link to truly global markets
“Faster journey times, greater accessibility for passengers with disabilities, improved opportunities for education, employment and leisure, reduced emissions from road traffic, safer travel – these are the tangible transport and economic benefits that the railway will bring.
Transport Scotland, the transport delivery agency answerable to Scottish Ministers, is committed to providing in principle £115 million funding in 2002 prices towards the project with the rest to be funded by the councils and other interests.

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