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!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

responsibilities again

As an increasingly visible part of the community in Midsomer Norton we're very aware that we have a responsibility to make the place look as nice as possible. This is work last year on the astronomical garden, very visible from Silver Street. This work is now taking place again, putting in bedding plants for a blaze of colour.

Soon the up platform will be resurfaced and will show off the signalbox to perfection. Once the greenhouse is rebuilt the whole site will almost be back to 1950s condition, a real asset for the town and the railway heritage community. Railway enthusiasts who have kept the memory of the line alive throughout the closure years deserve nothing but the best - the new S&D will lovingly recreate the old and consistently reflect the line in its heyday, the 1950s.

In a few years time track will once again grace this attractive unofficial footpath. We've worked closely with local people to ensure that where footpaths, even unofficial ones, have come into use along the trackbed that we put in a new right of way as close as possible to the original. We want people to enjoy the magnificent countryside that the S&D runs through on foot, bike and eventually by train. We also value the wildlife and wild flowers along the route, they are as much part of the scene as steam trains will be in the future. Our aim is to tread as lightly as possible on the land.

But our biggest responsibility is to future generations who will have to live in a rather harsher (if warmer!) world than us. Once road traffic vanishes the S&D, and many other lines throughout the country, will become essential traffic arteries, keeping the economy going (if no longer growing!) and protecting the environment by using sustainable fuel (wood and solar/wind/water generated electricity).
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