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, January 14, 2007

go north!

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!

1 comment:

Rockers said...

Wow. Interested news regarding the this 6 Arches project Peak. Is there any more information available on this?

Great new website btw