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!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

better than ever?

The S&D Telegraph number 31 is just out - available direct from the Trust or from the station shop. Remember that as a member you get this quality magazine free - sign up today via the S&D website!


Anonymous said...

From an acorn does a big oak tree grow. But if every acorn from the that one oak tree grow then it would be very crowded. As time goes on each acorn grows and spreads to become a forest. Midsummer norton is a small side however it is centeredon the side that the sdjr is awakening, in time as we brake further out towards chilcompton and binger the items that are being collected at M. S. N. will be of extremly good use and will be added too in time.

pygmy said...

I welcome this blog! Having joined the Trust only 2-months ago and living in Lincolnshire, I find it a great way to keep up to date of all the excellent progress.

Anonymous said...

This blog is excellent. It is a brillant way to keep up to date. Some of the other railways should look at how this works and set something up themselfs!

jb said...

As current Trust Chairman, I couldn't agree more with bloggers when they praise Steve's blog, even though it is, as many of you correctly surmise, currently being used to make personal comments on the way in which the Trust is running its affairs. Steve has every right to do this and I would never wish that right to be taken away, but there will be occasions where a personal vision on decisions taken may conflict with the overall vision of the Trust. There are times when even I have to have the grace to accept a majority decision that may not accord with my own views.

As full members of the HRA we haveto follow the Riga Conventions and these,for example, provide every justification, along with our own Articles and Memorandum of Association, to take on the historic LMS coach body and not just restrict ourselves to a 1950s/60s restoration style. The alternative of its total destruction was simply not acceptable and with the S&D at Washford already having three such coaches there was no room there, nor indeed could we find alternative acccommodation at the short notice the owner required having already sold the accompanying house. It will eventually be moved from its current position but not until it has been partly restored by the individual who discovered and saved it. It is an excellent example of the coaches that ran through Midsomer Norton - it certainly ain't no "shack".

There is a very simple answer to the question as to why the potential franchise arrangement was withdrawn - the maths simply did not add up to give both the Trust the income it set as a minumum (based on Steve and Debbie's catering experience and recommendation)and still provide a viable living and income for the proposed operator.

With their parallel resignations as Finance Director and Catering Manager respectively, we have to move on and determine what is now best for the Trust for future finance and catering operations. Neither gap will be easy to fill but I have every confidence that we will get there and improve on the foundations they both work hard to create.

Personally I look forward to Steve being able to tackle the unique S&D greenhouse in the summer, once the weather is better and his health improves. I also wish him and Debs every happiness as they prepare to tie the knot later this year - believe me that will be stressful enough without also having to worry about Trust finances and the catering operation! My wife has often threated a divorce over the amount of time I spend on the project on numerous occasions!

S&D Blog readers will appreciate that everyone of us at Midsomer Norton are volunteers with our day jobs that provide us with plenty of stress as it is - certain,y mine will have its moments over the next 4 months as Shropshire consults on the closure of 30+ primary schools. My S&D amateur role is to try (not always successfully as I am only human)to channel conflicting views into consensus for the good of MN and the tantalising prospect of us running public trains later in 2008. I am more than happy to receive justifiable criticisms about what we do at the site at any time and I'll do my best to respond positively to them. Just make these known to us on the main Midsomer Norton website (www.sdjr.co.uk) and the webmaster will pass them onto me.

John Baxter