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!

Monday, March 26, 2007

the race to prestleigh ...

After we reach Shepton Evercreech Junction and Templecombe will beckon. But there is one big problem en-route, the missing Prestleigh Viaduct.

But suddenly we're not alone in our ambitions in that direction! Neighbours the East Somerset Railway are considering building a line to the Bath and West Showground south of Prestleigh, which will require rebuilding of the viaduct. Perhaps they'll even consider a transport link directly into the Showground using the existing 7 1/4" gauge Bath and West Railway?

The route will include yet more restoration of the S&D, always something worth backing!

The East Somerset have always had the problem of not having a proper destination - this would be an incredible move and would lift the ESR right up the heritage railway chart. It would also serve an essential transport role in the car-less future.

We shouldn't be too daunted by the prospect of having to restore something the size of Prestleigh - it didn't stop it being built in the first place! It's maddening to think that this viaduct was only demolished a few years ago, well after Peak Oil and Climate Change effects were being considered by other more enlightened authorities.

Prestleigh Viaduct WILL be rebuilt, now the only question is ... by whom?
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