Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Always ahead of the game the S&D is busily implementing a state of the art security system which as well as providing CCTV cover to the whole site also will send real time pictures to members of the Board's computers at home meaning that any low-life who fancies doing a bit of low-key damage around the site may well find a few heavily built members ready to discuss the matter with them before they get the chance to scuttle off site! It's also planned to send one of the video streams direct to the website with a contact number underneath so that any S&D fan can play their part in reducing the population of Midsomer Norton vandals!
I don't suppose any of the little mites are familiar with the Internet but if you are reading this you may find it easier to engage in your nefarious and really rather uncool behaviour elsewhere. Or you may well find yourselves in room 101 with rats gnawing your nethers ...
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The goods stock is getting spruced up at high speed - thanks mainly to Glyn Voisey and his magic paintbrush and Dave Rushton's energetic department-pushing!
Next paint job is the catering coach, which should be done in weeks rather than months - depending on the weather.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
This is the PC donated to the Trust through the BT Community Connections scheme.
We've finally found the time to set it up in the catering coach, where it will soon be Internet connected via WiFi. At the same time the coach will become a WiFi zone so that visitors can use their laptops - all free of charge.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
We had a party of 26 arrive late this afternoon from Inside Track. They arrived not by train unfortunately but in this monstrosity!
We are getting more and more organised visits these days. Many groups combine a visit to MN with walks along closed sections of the S&D. Please email if you'd like to arrange a group visit to the line. We can cope with anything from a minibus to a couple of coaches the size of the one above. We'd normally arrange special opening of the shop, catering coach and signalbox and even - like today - have a loco running up and down.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This coach body arrived today. Its history needs to be researched, but it's a good deal older than the Mark 1 we have on site!
Full marks to Steve Ehrlicher and his team for sourcing this wonderful vehicle - we can't wait to see it fully restored and become a real credit to the S&D!
It's been temporarily moved to the gap between the catering coach and the two recently repainted goods wagons. Hopefully I'll be able to download the video(s) of it being craned into position later.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
(Photo: Jeffery Grayer)
It's like buses - you wait for a Combe Down Tunnel walk for years then two come along together ...
It's open on 27th September thanks to our friends in the Two Tunnels Group.
For more info click here.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
(Rye, Alresford, Hove, Brockenhurst 1970s)
I think it's important that we get the atmosphere right on the new S&D. To my mind the S&D IS colour photos in the sun ... despite the winter shots posted a few days ago!
The above shots are all from Sussex and Hampshire in the early 70s. I've been digitalising all my photos, and these are some of my favourites. They are neither sunny or colour! Quite the opposite. So perhaps atmosphere is more difficult to pin down than I thought. Certainly my favourite shots at MN have been taken in fog or at dusk. Ponder ...
Monday, September 17, 2007
An unusual shot - the platform lines clear of rolling stock!
We do have a problem with storage space at Midsomer Norton. Every inch of siding space together with most of the platform lines is usually blocked with wagons, coaches and locos. Sadly this is not going to change any time soon. The real problem is the steep gradient on the running lines which will prevent us using the reinstated up line as a long storage siding.
It's not all bad news. Lack of space means that every potential item of new stock needs to have an excellent case for coming to the line. Many heritage lines have long sidings of rusting wagons etc which really make the place look tatty. We won't have the option.
We do have a fair selection of rolling stock, but every item has to earn its keep, either as an engineering vehicle, for storage or as a museum piece that will bring in extra visitors. Hopefully when we reach Chilcompton and Radstock extra storage space can be developed!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
After a run of mild winters and warm summers (even this summer was actually warmer than average!) I wonder when we'll see scenes like the above again on the S&D? These shots are I think of the winter of 1963 when the line really struggled and was completely blocked for several days. The S&D seemed to excude atmosphere no matter what the weather - or perhaps we just happened to have the right sort of photographers who always seemed to be able to bring the best out of the line?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
The base of the greenhouse reappears.
The original basks in the background behind the Jinty.
After four years stuck in the office I've volunteered for something far more interesting - rebuilding the greenhouse. With Robin off to Cardiff for post-graduate work I've stepped in with the rash promise of getting it done myself! Expect slow but steady progress ...
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
A recent message board post suggested that we should oppose cycleways. This may have been a valid argument 20 years ago, as a reaction to the dinosaur thinking of some of the cycle groups in the 80s, but I really don't think it applies today.
Look ahead 20 years. Cheap oil will have disappeared from the market. Private cars will be the preserve of a few very rich people. Air travel will be the same. Economies will be much more locally and regionally based. Roads will fall into disuse as people refuse to pay taxes to maintain them. Railways will be being feverishly rebuilt across the country. Cities and larger towns will be rushing to build tramways. Rail will be in the ascendant ...
But even rail requires energy. A new nuclear industry may well allow many lines to be electrified, as long as uranium remains available. Many lines will use wood burning steam. But a transport system that requires almost no energy at all should also be allowed to flourish - the bike. There is already a reasonably large cycleway network in the UK, but Sustrans struggles to raise the money to keep it going, let alone expand. Some Sustrans routes use rail trackbeds that will inevitably have to revert to rail in the future. But of course within a decade or two there will be a whole new resource for Sustrans to transform - the dying road network! This should mean that a transformation of our transport from road to rail and bike should be fairly easy to achieve. Railways will be able to take the medium to long distance traffic, plus freight, whilst the cycleways will allow individuals and families to range up to 10 or 20 miles from their homes. The climate will benefit, people's health will benefit, wildlife and the countryside will flourish and we'll still be able to keep a reasonably high standard or living.
So let's not pretend the rail revivalists and cyclists are somehow at odds, we're actually destined to work TOGETHER in the future. Rather than knock Sustrans let's join in droves and invite them to join us ...
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
This is the original 'emergency' timetable forced on the S&D between 3 January and 6 March 1966, a final indignity to the finest line in England. Four trains a day between Bath and Bournemouth and just two on the branch! Hardly a 'service'. And more proof that the S&D closure was political rather than economic. No track rationalisation, no dieselisation (in case it encouraged users), traffic diverted away from the route and no attempt to push its incredible scenic appeal.
How those idiots from the sixties must be fuming in their graves as the S&D springs back to life!
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Three nice shots of Wulfric in the signalbox today. The station was very busy all day with visitors. It was nice to see that many of them were young - hopefully future members and volunteers of the Trust! Particular thanks today to Jeff Harris, Doug Auckland and Ann Cook who turned out all day to help visitors. All four new volunteers with an interest in working in the coach have been taken on - the first result being that we'll be open tomorrow (Sunday 9 September) up at the coach!
Danielle is more interested in posing than pulling levers ...