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, June 08, 2007

paint it black

Most of us have seen the nightmare that is no 88 down on the West Somerset Railway. I can't figure out how this happened, a classic S&D engine in a garish blue which surely doesn't please anyone except five year olds hooked on Thomas. No doubt it will revert to black at some time in the future.

We have a strict livery policy at Midsomer Norton, mid to late 50s style. It applies to carriages, wagons and, of course, locomotives. This is partly as a tribute to people like Ivo whose best photos happened to have caught the line in this era, it's partly to reward the small team of railway builders at MN and it's also purely financial - with a consistent livery we can easily offer photo charters in the future. Non-railway orientated visitors just want to see steam, the livery is unimportant.

Now the sad news. As the livery policy was not introduced until last year a couple of items don't fit. Unfortunately they're the locomotives, No 10 and the Sentinel! But there are now rumblings that No 10 should be turned out in two-tone green at its next repaint, and it's still not too late to stop the Sentinel being turned out in Persian (not Prussian!) blue, as the owners want to vote on it. A black Sentinel will be superb - smart and historically correct, and able to evoke real memories in those that remember them running. So I'll be voting black black black!!! when we get the chance ...
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Anonymous said...

It is a traditional S&D loco in a traditional S&D livery. The trust at Washford can do what ever they want to it and I personal thought it was so nice I painted my own 00 duage S&D 7F painted in the same colour scheme.

Sunshiner said...

The original loco never carried the livery. It is very attractive in blue, but it would look so so much better in BR black - and mean something to so many people. I think you rather missed the point of the original post which is about what we're doing at MN, not what Washford have done! They took a vote, we didn't.

There can be a conflict between loco owners and heritage lines, understandable when a loco is such an expensive piece of equipment. Owners surely should have the final say on what colour their engine should be. That's why we have a livery rule at MN which is pointed out to potential loco owners who want to base theirs at MN.

It most certainly was not a dig at Washford, quite the opposite. We work very closely with Washford, I personally work very closely with their principle officers, many of our members are also members of Washford.

Washford are doing something totally different to us, which is great. Why would we all want to be the same? How anomynous that would be LOL!

Janus said...

Why be so disparaging about 88 and the people at Washford - which is how your comment came across, even if not intended? The SDRT members voted on what colour scheme they wanted for the engine which they had paid to restore - this seems reasonable and democratic. For many years Prussian Blue was THE colour of the S&DJR, in perhaps what some would regard as the heyday of the line. Is it not nice to be able to get some idea now of what that was like for those of us who are not /that/ old?

Sunshiner said...

I certainly would never be disparaging of Washford as I work very closely with their committee and fully support what they're doing - I suspect you totally missed the point I was making which was nothing to do with Washford but everything to do with Midsomer Norton and the importance of a heritage line to be consistent. The same argument could be used for a line that wanted to recreate a 1920s version of the S&D, where I would query the intrusion of, say, a 1950s style BR livery.

Washford have done wonders down there, creating a lovely museum in a nice setting. It's a shame more people didn't visit it, which is one of the reasons for their informal links with us. We will be working on a combined calendar for 2009 for example. They are S&D, as much as we are, and I would be the first to slap down anyone who had a go at them. As a museum their job isn't to recreate a part of the S&D as it was in any particular year, but to preserve relics and to present them in an interesting and inclusive way. They struggled through all the trials of the Radstock debacle, and came out stronger. Anyone who knocks them would have me to answer to!

At the same time one of the biggest criticisms I hear in the general S&D field is of the painting of 88 in blue. But, as you (and I) said it was a democratic decision, unlike the one at MN. I'm a part owner in the Sentinel and was never asked what colour I wanted it, and I've never found anyone else in the owners' group who was asked. My criticism was of the Sentinel Group, not Washford!

This blogsite is for EVERYTHING S&D, not some small group within it. It's about the WHOLE S&D, not the odd mile or so that's currently restored. It's about rebuilding this wonderful line, all of it, and I'll stand 100% behind EVERY S&D fan. All the various S&D groups, and the people within them (many who are, like me, members of all or some of the groups) need to work towards the same goal - restoration of the S&D, its relics and its spirit.

I've given my life to it, and I'm not alone. Don't knock us - join with us!

martin laker said...

What's wrong with Prussian Blue - it makes the S&D distinctive. Loads of railways have green and black trains. keep No 10 Blue!