Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Monday, March 24, 2008
After!! (Photo from SDRHT website)
Fantastic news is that the up platform is now completely resurfaced (see picture 3). This is a big step towards operating trains, and makes me really proud to be a life member of the Trust! It looks superb and is a credit to everyone involved. Can't wait to get started on that greenhouse to really set it off!
Picture four is what we're all about - restoring genuine steam services on an ever expanding stretch of Britain's finest line.
Can you really afford not to be part of it all?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I've just checked the stats and we're about 90 short of 50,000 visits since this blog started!
OK, there are a lot of repeat visits in there but even so that's an awful lot of exposure for our small line. I'm still amazed that most of the bigger lines don't even have a blog. They are missing a huge opportunity!
Monday, March 17, 2008
(Photos copyright Mick Knox 2008)
These are a few shots of a line not totally dissimilar to the S&D - the Great Central. Like the S&D the GC was once a very busy route linking urban areas through the countryside, serving both local communities and the nation. The major part of both routes were closed in 1966. Both lines, even in a world where oil was endless and the climate was stable, should have been retained and developed so they could fulfil a useful role into the 21st century and beyond. Now of course both routes are essential with Peak Oil and Climate Change visible to everyone.
Mick is working on a website that I think will be superb. The premise is a critique of the 'reasoning' behind the extraordinary destruction of the British railway network in the 1960s. The socialist bureaucrats that ruled the roost back then seriously believed that the railway network was no longer needed and - appallingly - would never be needed again. But even in the sixties politicians knew that oil was a finite resource and would eventually become too expensive to be practical. What were they thinking of? At the very very least the routes should have been retained even if the infrastructure was removed.
Of course the S&D and GC will be rebuilt, and probably a lot sooner than most of us expect, but the cost will be far higher as a result of the stupidity of politicians forty years and more ago. Where development has taken place there will need to be massive compensation - although many will argue that there should be none. And competition for the skills of railway workers will be fierce. This is why I have always argued - and always will - that the S&D needs to fight and claw its way to the top of the reopening pile!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
(Courtesy Railway Ramblers and Mick Knox)
We have just received details of the running order for the above series (see below).
Each programme will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. on Meridian, which is ITV1 in a region ranging from south Essex through to east Dorset.
Do keep an eye on the schedules, though, because things in the TV world can change at short notice! People who subscribe to Sky can also receive Meridian - we hope to publish details shortly.
In the meantime, here is the running order:
Program 1 : Castleman’s Corkscrew (Tx 6/4/08)
Program 2 : The Longmoor Military Railway (Tx 13/4/08)
Program 3 : The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway (Tx 20/4/08)
Program 4 : The Hawkhurst Branch (Tx 27/4/08)
Program 5 : The Meon Valley Railway (Tx 4/5/08)
Program 6 : The East Kent Railway (Tx 11/5/08)
Program 7 : The Sprat & Winkle Line (Tx 18/5/08)
Program 8 : The Isle of Wight (Tx 25/5/08)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
(Copyright 2008 Mick Knox)
One of our unsung heroes is Mick Knox, who comes down several times a year to give the lineside a serious strimming. These before and after photos are from the 19 February.
One of the features of the S&D was its neat cuttings and embankments. When trains are running again hopefully lineside fires will do some of Mick's work for him! As the line expands then more and more of this sort of rewarding work will need to be done. I can't imagine a better way of spending a summer's day than cutting back the undergrowth alongside the S&D - with champagne and strawberries to hand of course ...
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Tradition expects me to mark today - the 42nd anniversary of the closure of the S&D. Hopefully it'll be the last time I - or anybody else - has to! With regular trains expected to start running this year at Midsomer Norton future years should be marked by the celebrating of the reopening and we can eventually forget the line was ever closed. 2008 really is a turning point ...
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Thanks for all your stamp contributions over the last few years - altogether (with other secondhand items) they've raised almost £5000 for the Trust!
I'm still getting a few envelopes going to the old address - could you make sure that stamps are sent to 10 Bellamy Avenue, Hartcliffe, BRISTOL, BS13 0HW.
We've had the following statement posted on the comments section of this site which hopefully will put all the fears of some to rest! Thanks to 'Somersetbiker' for this.
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!
I'd recommend reading the SDRHT Constitution - the New S&D will be in every way a 'proper' railway, even if it will (hopefully always) have a significant heritage element!