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, October 05, 2007

very cross rail

(copyright Jeffery Grayer. Midford 1967)

So the government are planning to waste £16 billion on yet another cross London railway, which will do little more than connect east and west of a city already teeming with public transport options, a city that will probably be uninhabitable within 50 years.

Just imagine what that £16 billion could do in the real world. Restore the S&D for a start, rebuild the whole Waverley route, not just a little stub at the northern end, restore the whole Great Central, Bere Alston to Okehampton, branches to Bude, Padstow, Lyme Regis, Devizes, Midhurst, Gosport, Ringwood, Wimborne and a dozen other places stupidly currently off the rail map, and probably leave about £5 billion for tram systems in about 20 towns and cities!

At the very least the government should grant automatic planning permission for all rail reinstatements coupled with compulsory purchase powers for any land needed for new railways.

Just let us get on with the job!
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Toddingtonted said...

I have to agree with you. I think Crossrail was (with the emphasis on "was") a very good idea but it should have been built years ago. By prevaricating, the Govt (ie us)is now going to have pay shedloads more for this project when at least some of the money could have gone to reopen at least some of the closed rail links you mentioned

Anonymous said...

I know. But you should have learnt by now that the government of this country is backwards, greedy and kissing the fat arses of the USA and Europe to keep in their good books and ignore the fact that there own country is going to waste!

On a lighter note the vans look very nice. But I thought most vans in the 60's were red/brown/green depending on the region. Grey is too 1930's!

Anonymous said...

Another example is the disused railway from Luton to Dunstable. (Bedfordshire) It has been subject to debate for 15 years! (Most of my lifetime as I was born just before the line closed!) Luton Town Council would rather spend a ridiculous amount of money on a guided bus way along the route instead of spending a far reduced amount on restoring the railway that is there. And what do the busses do when they get to the towns? GET ON THE ROADS!

A while ago there was a scheme to re-open it but alas it fell through. Unlike yours our presence was, erm, illegal and we were beaten by the removal of track outside the sidings, which our stock was kept. One vehicle was valuable and with the loco was removed but I don’t know what happened to the rest. A Mk2 and a selection of old vans, rusting and was a hot spot for local drug dealers and prostitutes! All over now. But the line is still there, albeit overgrown.

We had a line ready and waiting, and all we wanted to do was prove it could be done. But the best laid plans and all that. At least with the S&D, a really special line, you are having more luck that we did.