Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, January 14, 2007
More stirrings on the S&D - it's a job keeping on top of them all! The Six Arches project aims to finally build the cycleway between Radstock and Midsomer Norton, which will involve reinstatement of the Somervale Road bridge. Obviously it wll be easiest for us to make this a rail bridge (with space for a cycleway) right from the start, so we're working closely with the group. It will mean a large financial input from the Trust to cover the marginal additional cost of a larger rail/cycle bridge over an exclusively cycle bridge.
There is also now talk of building a second bridge over the Bath road at Radstock to counter any possible objections to reinstatement of the notorious level crossing. This will leave us poised in Radstock to begin reconstructing the unobstructed (and transport-corridor protected) route back to Bath which is the real key to S&D success over the next 20 to 30 years, as well as giving us a possible link back to the Frome line. Radstock is going to be transformed over the coming decades into a real railway town again, possibly with the Bristol line reinstated as well.
The sustainable transport system of the future in a post-oil world will depend on two principle forms of transport - rail (including tramways, ultra-light rail, light rail) and cycling (with walking and horseriding complementing this). So all transport planning from now on will need to prioritise these modes, roads will fall into disuse (for energy requiring vehicles) in tandem with this shift. Inevitably more production will become localised as globalisation falters with the end of the oil age, requiring efficient transport systems serving local communities. The S&D and cycleways close to the route will provide this, giving us a head start over areas that still nostalgically cling to the road system. We'll be working very closely with cycling organisations to ensure this happens.
Reinstatement of the Radstock-Bath route will be the single biggest adventure the Trust undertakes in the 21st century, providing a classic commuter route into Bath as well as tapping into the tourist traffic in Bath and bringing them out into the hinterland. Bath Green Park will become the head office of the route as well as a showpiece Georgian style station, giving us an unbeatable presence in the city. The route will also allow visitors to see the classic S&D countryside through Midford and Wellow in the best way possible - through the windows of a train!