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, September 04, 2007

round up

Telegraph 30 included a donation form for the Reopening Fund - the response has been excellent after just two days, and thanks to everyone who's already contributed. You can of course donate via the sidebar on this site!

We've had a few comments about the 'LMS' brake van - rest assured that this will be repainted with BR(M) lettering very shortly! There are also plans to repaint No10 in two-tone green and the Sentinel will now be turned out in BR black rather than Prussian blue. This is all part of our intention to recreate the S&D as closely as possible to 1950s condition throughout - stations, locos and rolling stock.

We have THREE volunteers joining the catering team this Saturday - why not come along and make them feel at home? With luck this fresh blood should enable us to open every Sunday from the end of September.
Remember we are taking part in the Heritage Open Weekend this coming weekend so the station should be pretty lively and the weather forecast is good!


Anonymous said...

What's wron with prussian blue, or LMS? i know you want to re-create the 1950's look but why not try to look even further back. And I can understand the sentinel in BR black, but I like No.10 with prussian blue. They are the house colours of the S&D and as you are operating under that title I think the prussian blue is apropiate.

Sunshiner said...

The problems are many! To remember the LMS you would need to be about 64, to remember S&D livery about 80. Most of us that are members of the Trust were inspired by our own memories of the line (invariably 1950s/60s BR) or by the photographic work of Ivo and others (again almost exclusively 1950s/60s). This was the heyday of the line and the era we're pledged to recreate - so the station, signal box and rolling stock need to be strictly in those liveries with no exceptions. Anything else will feel wrong and will sharply remind the visitor that they are at a 'heritage' or preserved site.

With a homogenous feel to the line hopefully whole new generations of fans will grow up seeing the new S&D as a real railway rather than a big train set! How many 'heritage' lines are nothing more than a heterogenous collection of visible egos, locos and wagons and coaches painted in whatever colour the owner or owning groups fancies? It's not good business and it's not right for what we're doing. All the owners we've advised the livery policy to have agreed 100% - they just want to see the S&D running again. It's gained us a lot of kudos in the heritage movement.

The S&D isn't like other 'heritage' or private lines, but a unique attempt to bring a WORKING steam railway back to Somerset and Dorset, a line that is steam because that's the most economic way to run a line and that does proper justice to the incredible 'heritage' of what the S&D is for most people - a classic English cross-country line of the 50s and 60s.

For Prussian blue and other colours that really do not do anything for most people, or are justified by their historic connontations only, then other sites such as Washford, who are not trying to recreate the S&D, exist to keep them happy.

And remember, 'Somerset and Dorset' was used right up to BR days to advertise/brand the route. It will always be the 1950s and 60s (for Shillingstone)look where stretches of the line are being restored. We've always been honest in our aims to rebuild the route 1950s style, as well as to provide a genuine transport link in this beautiful part of Wessex.

The Sentinel is going to look fantastic in black with a BR number, and the real test is to ask those who remember the Sentinels working what they'd prefer. And they've to a man said 'BR black'!

The S&D was an extraordinary line with a huge degree of support and love from the public. We owe it to them to recreate it as closely as we can to how they remember it, and to all those thousands of enthusiasts and countryside lovers who only knew it through the work of Ivo Peters, David Cross and others.