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, 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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Anonymous said...

How does this square with sustrans two tunnel scheme now going ahead on the S&D track bed at Bath. It appears that we are already loosing a vital section of the S&D to bikes and foot traffic.

An avid reader of your blog.
PS well done for MN & S&D revival

Sunshiner said...

Only temporarily, which was the point of the original post. We're losing nothing!

For all the wimpering we get from some of the nostalgist wing of the rail 'revival' movement every time Sustrans get a bit more much needed cycleway in place, this simply proves that when real transport need is identified, a cycleway will ALWAYS come second to more useful public transport.

What the Two Tunnels Scheme WILL do is preserve our route into Bath (which is protected for transport use in any case), and restoration of the railway will be made that much easier in 20-30 years time when this section of the route is ready to be restored.

Until then we should all give full support to this scheme which

a) creates a sustainable transport link and
b) preserves the line of the route for eventual restoration for full rail services.

Davyboy said...

I agree. There are a (very) few intelligent and far seeing people behind the Government scenes, who while they wont publicly admit it,
see Sustrans as a relatively cheap means of maintaining rail corridors until they are required for real transport.
We should all encourage this.


Somersetbiker said...

Be assured. It is Sustrans' stated policy that any cycle path they build on ex-railway formation will always take second place to a restoration of the railway, but only if the restored railway is a "proper" transport operation and not "just" a heritage line. Sustrans maintain that the restoration of a parallel cycle path would be insignificant compared to the cost of re-instating the railway. How this would work through the Two Tunnels remains to be seen - by the next generation, not us!