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!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

spreading our web

(Pic Radstock North Station)

As we establish ourselves at Midsomer Norton it's important that we remember that our remit covers the whole route and that eventually the rails will reach parts that are currently in deep sleep - north of Radstock, south of Shepton, the branches. To this end it would be nice if several branch groups spring up along the route, formed locally but all part of the Trust. These groups could hold local meetings, send working parties to Midsomer Norton, build their own archives and, most importantly, establish physical presences at other locations - with retored buildings, rolling stock, retail outlets and even locomotives. As the groups build and more and more trackbed comes into the hands of the Trust we can look at establishing longer sections of restored route. But most importantly an expanding Trust will let people currently isolated from the activity at Midsomer Norton feel they can also play a very important role in the rebuilding of England's finest line, for both tourist and 'real' trains. We must remember that the S&D spread from Bath to Bournemouth, and over to Wimborne, Wells, Bridgwater and Burnham and that our job isn't over until the rails reach all those points!

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