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, November 26, 2006

go to the WC and P

Another potential start-up line in Somerset is one option being looked at by the WCPR group. The Weston Clevedon and Portishead line was a ramshackle Colonel Stephens affair which linked the three coastal towns. It closed in 1940 but there has been more than one proposal to reopen it since closure. It does seem a bit of a no-brainer with few engineering works, a flat route and in a major tourist area. It would also serve a pretty useful transport need, Clevedon and Portishead are far too large to be without rail access even now, after Peak Oil rail access will be essential. Weston of course retains its railway via a loop off the main Exeter to Bristol line. Clevedon and Portishead lost their links to the main line in the 60s. Portishead in particular is crying out for a rail link, and almost all the GW branch is still in-situ. There is an active group to restore this link as soon as possible.

So in a matter of weeks two lines with a Colonel Stephens connection are being considered for restoration - the WCPR and Snailbeach. Of course both the Kent and East Sussex and East Kent lines are partly restored, a scheme to reopen the Selsey Tramway using Parry railcars stalled a few years ago.

There is an inaugural meeting of the new WCPR group being held this Thursday, 30 November, details on their website.

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