Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
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!