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, April 24, 2008

new facebook group

Recently started by our very own Robin Whitlock, why not take a look at and join the Restore Britain's Railways group.

I doubt anyone will propose the reopening of the above line (although there was a preservation attempt in the 1970s). Any ideas where it is? A second clue is that the line featured in a classic 1960s film ...
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Sunday, April 13, 2008


This will hopefully be the site for a new Radstock station once we switch extension from south to north.

The trackbed is clear throughout - though the route will need two new bridges.

The Five Arches are just waiting for track to be relaid.

With a ready built car park, toilets in place and even a children's playground, the new Radstock station will be a superb advert for the line, and would alleviate many of the access problems at Midsomer Norton South. It would also act as a superb high visibility 'advert' for the route and draw in casual passing visitors, with a main road and a very popular cycleway alongside. There are also rumours that Norton Radstock council are very keen to offload the route to the Trust. What are we waiting for??
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

up platform

At last - hi-res pictures of the excellent resurfacing of the up platform. And it looks like there was just enough tarmac to do the bend around the side of the station to the platform gate as well. It will be great when the whole car park area is resurfaced!
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cheap solution to blockages!

Transition Transport UK now also has a blogsite
to complement its facebook presence. I promise future posts here will be S&D first and foremost but this is such a great video I thought it might give the S&D ideas where the trackbed is a bit difficult - run 9Fs down the middle of the street! Cheap, easy and spectacular, and conflict with road traffic will become less and less of a problem as cars and lorries disappear from our roads!

This will soon be a common sight in Porthmadog when the Welsh Highland links with the Festiniog on street - using steam!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

transition transport UK

Since giving up my role at the Trust I've been looking for a way forward and I think I've found it - I've set up Transition Transport UK with the stated aim to provide information on both infrastructure planning and finance for modern (post-oil) transport to the rapidly growing Transition network in the UK.

The S&D will be part of this modern transport network. Bath is now a Transition City, as the towns and villages between Bath and Bournemouth take on the Transition model then hopefully they will start to look at ways of connecting themselves.

Transition Transport UK will not only look at heavy rail, but also light rail, tramways, cycleways, canals and bridleways/footpaths. Transition is a very proactive and positive non-political organisation working towards solutions that will address both Climate Change and Peak Oil, rather than looking at them (as many do) as discrete challenges.
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


A few fairly recent shots around the station.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new platform surface next week when I'm next at the station. We really are in the last few stages before reopening.

I miss the regular trips I used to make to Midsomer Norton! It was nice putting on new photos a few times a week. I'm always happy to put your pics, info and views on the blog so don't be shy and send them in!
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