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, June 19, 2007


The museum should be open within a year, the first few tenders are now going in for the work. We received just short of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this work.

Once it's built the museum will become a focal point for both local and railway historians. It will be state-of-the-art, not some musty old collection of relics. It will hopefully become the primary resource for all S&D historians.

Remember that the history of the S&D did not end in 1966! The above shot is of Wellow in 1980. The 'closed' period of the S&D will become a fascinating idiosyncracy for historians in 50 years time, when trains are again steaming from Bath to Bournemouth. Please consider donating pictures you have of the line, both before and after 1966, for use in the museum archive - the more unusual the better! The success of Jeffery Grayer's book 'Sabotaged and Defeated' proves that the 'closed' period has a fascination of its own, as does volume 3 of the TVP series on the S&D, which concentrates on the dismantling of the route. For every classic Ivo Peters' shot, there must be a thousand other shots of the line from a different perspective. Let's flush them all out!

Donations of photos/negatives/film etc can be made at the station on any Sunday or Monday. We will take the utmost care of them and ensure that they reach a wider public over the coming years.
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