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!

Monday, August 13, 2007


The shark is said to have stopped evolving about 100 million years ago. The violin assumed its current form around 400 years ago. They have both reached their peak of perfection - there's no need to evolve any further.

I'm beginning to think that the S&D circa 1955 is the same. That it fulfilled many different roles and needs - local transport provider, a cheap efficient and effective way of moving thousands of holidaymakers hundreds of miles, secure employment for whole generations of Somerset and Dorset folk, a mouthwatering vista for lovers of railways, steam and the countryside, a place of peace and contentment occasionally interrupted by extraordinary power and spectacle.

So when people question what we're about, how we're going to square the circle, how we're going to cater for the supposedly contrary requirements of railway enthusiasts and 'real' passengers and freight suppliers, as well as tourists, I just think 'shark'! The S&D did all this in 1955, why try to reinvent the wheel? The new S&D will have manned stations, manual signalling, steam engines, compartment coaches and all the other paraphenalia of a working 1950s steam railway because that's what's best for all of the above. We may need to 'tweak' the fuel (from coal to wood) due to the new realities of Climate Change and Peak Oil, but otherwise it will be just as it was - only even more profitable! So don't worry - the new S&D is in very caring and responsible hands, it's our baby as much as yours!
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Anonymous said...

But will it have 1950s prices and 1950s catering??

Toddingtonted said...

I very much doubt it! Whilst passengers on the new S&D would quite like the 1950s prices, I doubt that they would tolerate the 1950s food! However, given what we have already seen on this blogsite as regards catering, I think the fare is already better than that! I really must get down to Midsomer sometime to sample it for myself.