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!

Friday, May 18, 2007


The Southwold Railway are having a few problems from the locals. They don't want Southwold turned into 'Toy Town'.

They obviously have a 70s idea of preservationists - as knuckle dragging Asperger's Displaying NHS-wearing train buffs. And a 70s idea of what the Southwold Railway will be - a plaything for the socially inept and wealthy.

Perhaps the Southwold Railway need to be proactive and explain that all communities will need railways in the future as Peak Oil hits. That what they are planning is first and foremost a transport link that will keep them attached to the wider world once their cars splutter to a stop. That a railway will be able to carry freight in and out, that unless they stake their claim now and start building their line before the rush they'll be left behind as the skills of railway workers and builders become a fought over commodity.

Fortunately at Midsomer Norton we seem to be bereft of the Learning Difficulties Community, and that we are welcomed with open arms. We have the advantage of having many members in the community who remember the line running up to 1966. The Southwold of course closed in 1929, few locals there will remember it.

The Southwold Railway WILL be rebuilt, it's just such a shame that a few locals can't understand what's going on ...


Anonymous said...

The Southwold countryside is for EVERYONE not just some selfish overgrown "enthusiasts" who wish to play trains at everyone else's expense.

Sunshiner said...

LOL! You have quite spectacularly misunderstood my post and made an instant kneejerk reaction. If you'd READ my post you'd have spotted that I AGREE with the generalist position if taken on the surface. No-one is planning to 'play' trains - that attitude vanished in the 1970s. Southwold and its area will need transport into this century - as roads will be unable to do this post Peak Oil then rail, horses, bikes and walking will be the only solution. Not all of us can use the self-propulsion method, through youth, age, disability etc.

As you say, the countryside is for EVERYONE, including those who wish to help keep communities moving and prosperous in the future. That includes rail enthusiasts who, if you ever dared meet any, are neither selfish or 'overgrown' (whatever that means!)

Thanks for cheering up Sunday morning. With attitudes like yours reinstatement of your transport link is likely to happen sooner rather than later.

I assume you are also campaigning for the closure of roads which do far more damage to the countryside rather than the occasional train steaming through your lovely countryside!

Bob said...

I think that 'anonymous' has hit the nail on the head when he/she says quote 'The Southwold countryside is for EVERYONE'..., so I take it that he/she is NOT going to object, and to let EVERYONE enjoy the area - residents, the paying public, enthusiasts et al.

Toddingtonted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toddingtonted said...

Its good to read that the reborn S&D is being welcomed with open arms, at least at the moment. I don't know what effect the Southwold Railway would have if it were to be rebuilt but, from what I can see from its website, it was always a bit of an oddity and, as it closed in 1929, I guess it hasn't been missed.