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, September 02, 2008

more from the great dorset steam fair

Visitor from the Mid Hants Railway.

No rails but steam all the same!

Random steam shot.

Talk about diversification - but you won't catch me on it!!

It's nearly a week now since our incident-packed trip to the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

It's incredible that such a seemingly limited appeal event can attract over 200,000 people to a rural corner of Dorset. I think it says a lot for the potential of the future S&D. For every fan of static steam there must be 50 fans of the moving kind! Steam railways have a seemingly universal appeal, to young and old, rich and poor, male and (to a lesser extent!) female. Add in the need for all of us to gradually switch from road to rail as the oil runs out as well as the need to switch all freight to rail and once again the incredible potential of the new S&D becomes clear to all.

It's interesting that the people running the Fair are considering putting in a permanent (and doubtless steam) railway on the site. It's good that they are looking to the future! Eventually they will also need a rail connection to the network (inevitably along the new S&D) to ensure they will survive and flourish.

If you didn't get the chance to visit the Fair try to get there next year. We'll certainly be going again ...
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