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!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

shillingstone tv stars

Down The Line, BBC1, Sunday October 2008

BBC1 in the south and south east will be airing the programme Down the Line at 4.25pm. The series looks at how the Beeching Act reshaped Britian's railways and in this Sunday's episode they visit the Shillingstone Station project. The show will later form part of a programme on BBC4 The Golden Age of Steam and will also be available on BBC's iPlayer for anyone who missed it.

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Monday, October 20, 2008


John 'C.J.' Penny on duty at Common Lane signalbox. An open day at the GLR will require the 'bobby' to make over 1000 lever movements. Note the Stevens lever frame... Midford lives!

'C.J.' at work turning GLR No.6 'Mr.G' on the turntable at Common Lane ready for a wedding special, whilst John Gartell takes a ride...

Two more recent pics of the Gartell Railway, courtesy of John 'not C J' Penny!

Also posted to heritage railways
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radstock - signature required

I've no idea why in 2008 this should be needed anywhere, least of all a large urban area like Radstock/Midsomer Norton, but here we go!

We now have little time, perhaps only two weeks in which to save the land required for this link for use as a proper connection to the national network. If you feel strongly about ‘green’ transport or regeneration of the small rural town of Radstock, please go to www.northsomersetrailway.com/ and sign the petition. Of course, if you have already done so, please accept my thanks and apologies.
I am sure you will understand if I ask you to pass on this message to your friends and colleagues.

Yours sincerely,

George Bailey
North Somerset Railway, North Somerset Heritage Trust

Also posted to transition transport UK and heritage railways
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

this week's other line

Exit from Palma, Swiss style!

Coach interior - pure wooden opulence!

It's not always sunny in Majorca.

The tram to Port Soller.

A real gem on Majorca is the Palma-Soller railway, which we visited last Thursday.

It's a three foot gauge line that starts from a charming station right in the heart of Palma, then using a little street running and reservation passes through some rather shabby bits of town before heading into the mountains through orange, lemon and olive groves and then reaches the mountain town of Soller. From Soller there is a 4km tramway down to the port, which we didn't have time to visit, but I did get a few shots of the tram running down the narrow streets.

Originally posted on Panther Bites!
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Members of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust (Midsomer Norton) are invited to attend this year's AGM.

Details are - St Peter’s Westfield Church Hall, Midsomer Norton on Saturday October 18th 2008. The Hall is on the Radstock to Wells Road, on the right hand side as you go towards Wells, next to St Peter’s Church.

11 a.m. onwards –
hall open – displays, sales stand, etc.
12.00 p.m. – illustrated talk
1.00 p.m. - lunch starts
2 p.m. - Annual General Meeting business proceedings
4 p.m. approx – informal tour of developments at Midsomer Norton Station.
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

more gartell shots

Two more shots from John Penny taken on the Gartell Railway recently.
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Friday, October 03, 2008

this week's other line

A new feature from this week will be an off-S&D post, which hopefully will be a surprise for most!

These are views on the Springfield Agricultural Railway, a genuine industrial (and rural) line that has only opened over the last year or so. It's primary use is to shift horse manure from the stables and fields to the muck heap. The line is around 400m long at present, with extensions planned.

It's nice to see narrow gauge (this line is 2 foot gauge) being used for a genuine purpose, and one that is difficult by any other means. All the owner needs to do now is plant a forest and harvest the wood for wood burners, or to set up solar power or windmills to make it fully sustainable.

The S&D did have some narrow gauge connections - the peat lines on the branch and the Oakwood line at Binegar for example.

Hopefully in the future there will be several NG connections - both freight and passenger - to the restored S&D.
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Signs that work on the long awaited greenhouse is not that far away! Prepared ground and a nice pile of bricks ....

More features appearing around the signalbox area.
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

looking south

The scene looking south from Midsomer Norton towards Chilcompton taken yesterday. Work on the extension seems to have stalled whilst the arcane work of satisfying planning laws grinds slowly forwards.

This was the scene back in February when the area seen overgrown above was first cleared. The temporary track giving access is clearly seen. This made the cutting and removal of trees much easier! There were even rumours that number 10 ventured onto this stretch with light works trains ...

The happy Monday gang working on the extension, again back in February. This makes me yearn for the days when I was part of this team!
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robin of templecome

(Photos courtesy Mark Jamieson - more here!)

Loco number 47739 was named 'Robin of Templecombe' at Templecombe yesterday (30.9.08). The loco was named by and after Colas driver Robin Gould who is ex S & D Templecombe shed and the last ex-Templecome S & D driver still driving on the mainline (started 1955). There is one more ex S & D man still active on the mainline - I won't quote his name but he's an ex Bath Green Park fireman, now driving for EWS at Westbury.

Note the S&D crest above the nameplate. The S&D is not forgotten even by today's one-size-fits-all national railway network!

More pics and info here.

Thanks to Mick Knox for alerting me to this!
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