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, February 28, 2008

show of strength

Three views of the works on the up platform. There was a real risk of slipping of the ground below the up platform, particularly as there are water courses beneath. This area hadn't been touched since 1966 and was beyond our volunteer resources, so a local firm was brought in. Volunteers have now taken over the final parts of the work. This will not only secure the whole area but will make resurfacing of the up platform a doddle!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

this Monday

Most of the activity at the station yesterday was on the up platform. The platform edging is making progress as is the brickwork in front of the greenhouse. Also in picture one Dave Coppard is busy on his pet project, the up platform shelter. Just beyond you can see the work being done at the Bath end, which I hope to feature tomorrow. This whole area of the station will be transformed over the next year or so, setting off the signalbox splendidly!
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

end of a line

Back in 2005, all fresh and new!

Lifting this week.

Upended tipper truck.

Recovered track.

I was building a 7 1/4" gauge line in my garden at Horningsham which I'd hoped to open once a year to raise funds for the S&D, but my circumstances changed and it was not to be! This week I had to lift it and transport it to Bristol. Hopefully it will reappear somewhere at some time in the future! I plan to lay a few panels here to help move stuff around the (much smaller!) garden.
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Saturday, February 16, 2008

one short ...

We now have 499 signatures on our petition.

To become number 500 sign here!
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

sustrans in a tizz

Although often ridiculed for my assertion that Sustrans' cycle routes may well be converted to railways in the future as Peak Oil hits harder and harder, even I was amazed that this process seems to already be happening, and very close to the route once used by S&D trains!

The council in Bristol wants to place a bus lane (or even one of those hilarious tram-apeing Busway jokes) alongside 3km of the Bristol to Bath Railway Path. Cyclists and walkers are (understandably!) up in arms about this. As should council tax payers, as this nonsense will cost a staggering £49 million!!

To me this is clearly a stop gap, and a warning shot to Sustrans. Expect this to be the first of many reversions!

Meanwhile further east the same cycleway happily shares its route with the quieter, less polluting, busier and more aestetic trains (above) of the Avon Valley Railway!

A few years ago the idiots in Bristol Council cravenly scrapped the Bristol Supertram project, which would be a clear winner and sustainable even post Peak Oil. It shows that they've completely lost touch with reality.
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Sunday, February 03, 2008

petition target - almost 500

Signatures on the petition have now reached 482! It would be nice to reach 500 before the closing date (16 April 2008). I suspect most readers of this blog have already done their duty, but if not (and you agree with the proposal!) please sign here.
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winter progress

Looking along the up platform line. Bricks for platform edging in place,

Bob's nameboard seems to have made a reappearance.

The services trench along the up platform has been filled in.

Virginal looking platform and protective fence in place - this should look excellent in a few week's time.
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