Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, October 29, 2006
threats and opportunities ...
Isfield station on the Lavender line is under threat after years of careful restoration. The threat is the potential reopening of the Uckfield-Lewes line, which closed in 1969 in a crazy bout of pointless vandalism which cut the only real alternative route from Brighton to London and robbed Uckfield of its natural route to the county town of East Sussex. Reopening and electrification is now a real possibility. The Lavender line will be compulsory purchased and will need to relocate if this happens.
A similar situation may well arise on the Matlock-Buxton line, currently being restored by Peak Rail from the Matlock end. How this line ever closed is a mystery to me, depriving the large town of Bakewell of its link to the outside world, and cutting the direct Manchester-Derby link through an area often made impassable (to cars of course) by heavy snow.
Meanwhile the Lynton and Barnstaple is looking at restoring eight miles of track over the next decade. Being narrow gauge and through a rural area they are hardly likely to be kicked off by the Network!
(All above info from current Heritage Railway magazine).
We fall somewhere in between. I suspect that providing we have restored Midsomer Norton to either Shepton or Bath (or preferably both!) within 30 to 50 years we may be safe and allowed to continue to operate both 'real' and heritage trains, particularly if we commit to restoring the rest of the line as quickly as possible. There's a window of opportunity which we need to utilise through very hard work, fundraising and proving ourselves before it is closed by harder heads than ours! Of course, whatever happens, the S&D will be fully restored within 50 years, but the question is what sort of S&D? One run by distant green bureacrats in London or one run by local people with an instinctive love for the real S&D ...
Over to you!