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!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

new year's honours 2

The transformation of the catering coach over 2007 was amazing - from wasting asset to a real credit to the line! Occasionally opened in 2006 serving teas and coffees by mid 2007 we were offering a superb range of cooked food as well as the usual drinks and snacks, the patio area was looking great and towards the end of 2007 the coach finally got its green livery. December 2007 was great with various events happening up in the coach.

The real honours go to Debby Hitchins, who professionalised the coach and really made things happen. She also worked really hard to get the franchise off the ground by easing the transition - it was such a shame that we were let down at the last minute by the potential franchisee (reason still a complete mystery) which has left us now with no real catering team. Hopefully the Trust will be able to use its own resources to get the coach up and running again in 2008 - with the aim being to open 4 to 7 days a week in the summer. The coach will be a real profit generator for the line as well as a superb meeting place for both railfans and local people. At least we've learned that franchising is NOT the way forward and that the Trust should use its own volunteers and - eventually - local paid employess to run this very important asset.
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