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, June 12, 2008

the end of the line?

This blog has come under attack in recent weeks and I'm seriously considering giving it up.

It has served its purpose over the last couple of years, and it used to be great when people turned up at Midsomer Norton and praised me for it, usually with the codicil 'especially all the Peak Oil stuff'.

But times have changed. I now rarely get to MN, it's a rare treat for me, and the progress being made is fantastic. But the world's changed, everyone's aware of Peak Oil now as it's affecting them directly. People don't want to hear about it now it's personal, they'd rather bury their heads in the sand and hope the government will come up with something.

I thought we were better than that, that we could do things for OURSELVES, rather than foolishly expect everything to be done for us. I thought MN was a symbol of that. I was obviously wrong.

I get married at the end of next week. Perhaps I can think about it over the honeymoon, and perhaps the photos I used to take most days there will convince me there is still a point to this, but to be honest at the moment it looks like closure for this online S&D - and with no hope of a revival 40 years on ...
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Freddie said...

Please don't be dispirited for a few acrimoniuos bog-freaks. On behalf of the silent minority who probably don't ever leave a comment but read it regularly - it's very much appreciated.

Meanwhile - good luck for the big day. I hope it all goes well!


Sunshiner said...


Thanks - very much appreciated!


Freddie said...


The least I could do.

How about turning off the facility for comments? Those of us who log on to see what you've put up will still be happy and those who disagree with you will be no great loss to the rest of us! They can start their own blogs.


David Cox said...

Your blog comments and photos are VERY GREATLY appreciated by many many of us out here who don't get over to MSN as often as we'd like to -please continue with it and take absolutely no notice whatsoever of such feeble and unjustified criticism.

Have a great weekend and best wishes to you both

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

The pics are VERY MUCH appreciated and without regular updates people who can't always get to the railway like myself will be left in the dark as to what's actually happening.

Blogs are always going to stir opinion, be it good or bad.

Keep up the good work with the website and have a great wedding day.



Patrick said...

This is a great blog, please don't let the comments of a few couch potato dinosaurs put you off. I'm a strong believer in peak oil and supporter of the Transition Towns project. No-one is saying that the S&D will be rebuilt overnight, but it will happen provided the formation is kept intact.

If even the Tories are talking about reopening lines, then the message is getting through at a high level as it is in Scotland and Wales. What else can they do, build more roads? Good luck for the wedding!

P.S. "Yoofspeak" LOL!

Anonymous said...

Your pics and updates are much appreciated here. Near impossible for me to visit - you're keeping folk informed and maintaining interest.

Don't worry about cynics; they're frustrated at your attention and, as such, use harsh words to try to bully others into doing nothing. Note also that they don’t have ‘blogs of their own…

Best wishes with the wedding.


Anonymous said...

I just want to echo the comments made. This is a BRILLIANT site! Who cares what the doubters think!
Yes the restoration of the whole S&D will be very difficult but not impossible. Some preservationists thought the restoration of Duke of Gloucester was impossible...yet now it is one of the best performers on the main line. Slightly different in scale but the concept is the same. I believe that the S&D will be reborn and I for one cannot wait to see engines like Evening Star, 53808 and 53809 are pounding over Masbury summit again with the reformed pines express

Keep it going mate and good luck with the wedding.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you are an emotional guy (not a problem there) - have a very wonderfully emotional day on Saturday. I wish you both much happiness and many smiles.
As far as the blog goes, it is quite a public space, so if you wear your heart on your sleeve, someone will likely as not blow on it!
Good luck to you and Debbie,

Anonymous said...

This blog site is a great P.R tool for the project and it's aims. It will be a shame that, just as the Midsomer Norton site is nearing completion, the camera for the world to see what is happening is to be turned off. I'm sure that with future aspirations to reach Bath the blog will be invaluable.
By the way, you're right about 'Peak Oil', I see it every week when I fill the tank of the car!

Good luck and best wishes for the wedding and future life.

HFStephens said...

Please keep this site going, it's a great read and quite inspirational for those of us who support railways throughout the world. There will always be snipers, but if this is what you believe in then keep going. Like marriage, it's not always easy!

The very best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...


As i live on the otherside of the world, and visiting the site is impossible, this blog is great. i love all the photos and seeing the great changes that are happening. Dont be put off by a bunch of naysayers and grumpy old barstards.


NP said...


Agreed with all the above, I live a few thousand miles away so this blog is the only source of news. Relax man and chill out, don't concern yourself with opinions, they are beyond your control.

All the best for Saturday.


Sunshiner said...

Thanks to all of you! As you'll see when revisiting the blog I've taken everything you say to heart - and have stamped on those poor trolls!

Expect wedding photos on the bog in a week or so. No doubt the trolls will also object to such trivia appearing on the site!

sleeper53 said...

Since obtianing a couple of Ivo's books in the 80's I've become fascinated with S&D though living between Suffolk and Leicestershire had never been near any of it.
Now I regularly look at your blog (signed petition to no10)to see progress on any restoration progress of ex S&D and its a well presented website-keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

You've got a good blog here Steve and I've read pretty much everything on here since youve started. You have some strong opinions which are bound to get a alternative response. Just argue your point and dont take any criticism to heart.

Keep up th good work