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, July 27, 2007

white wash

What a surprise. Our current 'government' in its rail White Paper misses the point totally - little mention of Climate Change, none!!! of Peak Oil, or even a real understanding of the inevitable continuing increases in traffic under 'business as usual'. The one bright point is that the government does sort of concede that new lines will be needed but that local initiatives will have to kick start the huge rail revival all normal people know is coming. But they need to actually do their bit - by simplifying planning permissions, at the very least match fund local financial support and by levelling the playing field for all forms of transport by raising petrol taxes, introducing more congestion charges and making cars and lorries pay for the environmental damage they do.

The extract is below -

7.23 While stations can be developed relatively rapidly (some 40 new stations have been opened in the last 10 years), the Government does not envisage changes in the pattern or level of demand large enough in the HLOS period to justify developing or opening new regional lines.
Individual proposals will of course be subject to consideration on their merits. The Government recognises the role that rail can play in facilitating growth, evidenced by the recent agreement to re-introduce passenger services to Corby. However, the Government does not propose a blanket approach to safeguarding all potential alignments or disused lines. This would be disproportionate and blight homes and properties.

Strict controls are already in place for the development of railway land, and local authorities can use local planning processes to protect sites or alignments if they deem this appropriate.


Anonymous said...

Blight, this is rich coming from people who slummified the district I was born and brought up in and drove me out. They destroyed Southampton to such an extant that I have moved to Cornwall. This of course has helped increase the problem for young Cornish people to be able to get on the housing ladder. I hope the S@ D is totallt rebuilt end to end plus many other railways ie the witherned arm! of the Southern Railway

Toddingtonted said...

I too am disappointed that the Govt has missed an opportunity here but it is a start. I have always thought that it will be up to individuals and groups to open or reopen regional lines such as the S&D and the GWR etc. The Govt might then jump on the train so to speak, once the train is running. Unfortunately, without official "clout" it is still, I believe, too late to rebuild the S&D to anything like the extent it once was. However, there's no harm in trying! Regardless of their political persuasions, most UK political parties continue to step carefully around the problems that are supposedly in store for us. Inerestingly, I wonder who actually pays £25 for the White Paper document?!

Sunshiner said...

The real blight of course is to condemn suburbs and small towns to a slow death as the roads grind to a halt through lack of fuel. One of the biggest ways to increase value of a property (even now, let alone in the future) is proximity to modern public transport (rail and light rail). See any academic papers on transport economics worldwide!