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!

Friday, November 14, 2008

portishead reopening

The Portishead line reopening really is a no-brainer. With car journeys taking up to 3 hours to cover the 12 miles, and with the line. signalling etc already in place except for the last three miles, this really is an idea ready to proceed with! But we ALL need to show the level of support for it.

As you may have seen in the local media FOSBR is running a postcard campaign to reopen the rail line to Portishead and the line between Avonmouth and Bristol Parkway via Henbury. Funding will become available from the government for transport priorities in the South West region in the new year. We want the West of England Partnership (ex-Avon authorities) to include them in the bid. Only items high up the regional list will receive funding. Previous funding bids have been exclusively road-based. Since the government have refused to allow Network Rail to fund these schemes, this is the only way. We think that we have a good chance, but need your support.
The postcard is now available on the FOSBR website here.

Please print it from the website, fold it in half and tape it together before you send it to the West of England Partnership. Sorry, but you'll need to provide a stamp!

Besides getting people out of their cars and into quick and efficient public transport, there are several good reasons to support the campaign

These rail links would provide a cross-city service and a new link between the Severn Beach line and Bristol Parkway.

There has been much talk about Rapid Transit. This is the original rapid transit: Filton Abbeywood to Temple Meads in 8 minutes & Parson St to Stapleton Rd in 12 minutes!

Greater Bristol rail stations have seen passenger numbers double in the ten years to 2004/5. There have been further significant increases since then. Since Bristol City Council put money into the Severn Beach line to increase the service in May, numbers increased by 30% in three months. The demand is there.

Portishead's traffic and that into Bristol along the A370 is notorious. The Henbury line runs close to major employers including Rolls Royce, Airbus and Royal Mail at Filton and would provide a public transport alternative where none may exist at present.
Road accidents!

The West of England Partnership (representing ex-Avon authorities) estimate that congestion costs local businesses £350 million a year.

Government funding will be allocated for new transport schemes in the new year but our local decision-makers must submit a bid for it prioritising the schemes they want. This gives local councillors the chance to show that they are interested in schemes other than roads and buses.

For those who see such things as important, at roughly £20 million this proposal compares very well with road schemes.
What you can do:

Please send the postcard to the West of England Partnership.

If you want physical (rather than electronic) cards to send or to give to other people please let me know and I will arrange to get them to you. The more people who are involved the better.

Please foward this email to your friends and anyone who may be interested.

If you are involved with trade unions or other organisations please would you ask your colleagues to send cards and if the organisation will issue a statement of support as that would be wonderful!

For those interested, there is a Facebook group about the Portishead Railway campaign which can be found here. There is a copy of the postcard available here too.

Also posted to transition transport UK and Panther Bites!
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1 comment:

jeff harris said...

umm you mention the signalling being fully in place, it would need major modifications to allow for the line to portishead, as it currently operates on a single line token system, there are no controls for the junction with the line to portbury, and it would probably require axle counters because of the tunnels on route and the lengths of the possible track circuits involved, all of which would be very costly to install, also modifications to bristol temple meads panel signal box would be required.

jeff harris
network rail s+t apprentice bristol panel