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!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I've never been a great fan of anniversaries, but I suppose I should mark the 41st anniversary of temporary closure of the S&D.

We all know now that the original closure simply hadn't been properly thought out, that it was a political rather than economic decision. I won't go over all the shenanigans that our ancestors dreamt up!

What's important is that the S&D is now on its way back. It's only the beginning now, with three points on the route now possessing rails again, but all of the active S&D groups have expansion plans, and I'm expecting more restoration groups to spring up, probably on the Radstock-Bath section and on the branch.

The arguments for closure seem like nonsense now, even without Peak Oil and Climate Change just the gradual economic development within the UK would have already increased traffic on the line dramatically. Try travelling on some of the roads that parallel the route and you'll see what I mean! Try getting from Midsomer Norton to Bath in under 30 minutes by road!

Rail's time has come. The network is already suffering capacity problems even with much freight still being carried in soon-to-be-obsolete lorries. A vast new network of privately-owned and operated railways and tramways will soon be developed as the roads and air travel grinds to a halt as the oil runs out.

The new S&D will be at the forefront of this development. We'll always be different, favouring staffed stations, mechanical signalling and modern working steam but, make no mistake, the new S&D will be a transport system first and foremost.

So anniversaries of 'closures' will become less and less relevant as the future becomes the present. We're informed and inspired by the past but the future is where we'll have to survive and flourish.

The new S&D will be the best monument to the old one!

No comments: