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, December 18, 2007


Like most of mainland Europe, Budapest has an excellent public transport system that puts the UK's to shame. We had a couple of days there at the start of the month and were amazed how easy it was to get around the city. Just try getting round Bath, Bristol or Bournemouth as easily - yet once all three places had trams. In the UK some cities don't even have railways (Wells and Ripon spring to mind). We've a lot to learn ...
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Anonymous said...

This budapes is strating to be-a-pest!

Can't we have some more updates from the site at Midsomer Norton instead of your holiday snaps!

Sunshiner said...

Not from me I'm afraid!

My last visit to Midsomer Norton is tomorrow and I'll no longer be able to put in updates. I have left the project as it is going in totally the wrong direction.

I'm hoping to broaden the site to cover all aspects of the S&D - plus MANY MANY more shots from the last 30 years or so around Europe, including LOADS of holiday snaps. I'll also be covering rail revival in the UK, peak oil, climate change, all your little favourites!

If I feel it's moving too far away from the original remit then I may consider changing the name of the blog, but at the moment it'll stay S&D, as it is and will be again the finest line in the world ...

TOM said...

And what do you mean by wrong direction? have they scrapped the idea of going from radstock to shepton?

Sunshiner said...

Oh no, nothing so literal!

I personally don't want to be involved in a site that seems determined to transform itself from one of the prettiest sites on the S&D into a scrapyard, where the top trustees live hundreds of miles from the site and where democracy and professionalism are alien concepts.

Things will change - they have to -and when they do no doubt I'll return!

Anonymous said...

Absolute tosh! The S&D project is going through the same growth pangs that nearly all heritage railways go through. Most people in the UK will not give a monkey's whether the S&D continues or fails but if enough people like us continue to support it then it will at least survive. This project is not Sunshiner's personal project, even though this blog seems to indicate otherwise. Sunshiner, you have made the mistake of becoming too involved in something which you don't own. If you were bankrolling the whole thing then it would be different. Don't forget, the S&D might not let you "return!" I hope they do but it has happened to some other individuals on heritage railways. Don't get bitter - be glad that MN isn't a housing estate, it should have been long ago if we used "brownfield sites" properly. The S&D was a wonderful line but it sure as hell wasn't the finest in the world!