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!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

countdown to 6 March 2009

The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed the change to this blog's name.

This is the first visible sign of the countdown to launching the New Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust, scheduled for 6 March 2009. The Trust will exist solely for promoting the rebuilding of the new S&D, from Bristol/Bath to Bournemouth, to Glastonbury and Ringwood/Brockenhurst.

I've always believed that the S&D will be reopened, but to me the S&D needs to be a real railway, not a basic, government funded, excuse of a railway, which is what we'll get if we don't FIGHT for a new S&D.

As the oil runs out the need for a new line linking Britain's only World Heritage city with its premier seaside resort, through stunning scenery and through towns currently (unbelievably!) non-rail served, will become clear to all. Unfortunately around the same time the need for new railways will be clear throughout the country - so it will be a struggle for scarce resources, especially manpower. By launching the new Trust now we should hopefully have a head start!

Keep checking this site for more information. If you would like to join the Trust then please let me know!

The New Trust will obviously support ALL schemes that help maintain and preserve the route, whether they are heritage railways, footpaths or cycleways. The new railway will hopefully have a heritage aspect, providing that doesn't clash with providing a real service. It's my firm belief that the railways of the future will have far more in common with real railways - manned stations, sustainable power supplies, locomotives etc - than they will have with the jokes that pass for railways today.

The line will carry freight, post, animals, tourists, commuters and shoppers and will genuinely serve every community it passes through. It will help the communities survive the huge problems caused by Climate Change, Peak Oil and Economic Meltdown.

This is the future, and it starts on 6 March!
Posted by Picasa


Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. said...

Better build that RR fast,

Independent studies (reviewed in the Peak Oil Report


by Clifford J. Wirth) conclude that Peak Oil production will occur (or has occurred) between 2005 to 2010 (projected year for peak in parentheses), as follows:

* Association for the Study of Peak Oil (2007)

* Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of “Oil Watch Monthly” (2008 to 2010)

* Tony Eriksen, Oil stock analyst (2008)

* Matthew Simmons, Energy investment banker, (2007)

* T. Boone Pickens, Oil and gas investor (2007)

* U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2005)

* Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Princeton professor and retired shell Geologist (2005)

* Sam Sam Bakhtiari, Retired Iranian National Oil Company geologist (2005)

* Chris Skrebowski, Editor of “Petroleum Review” (2010)

* Sadad Al Husseini, former head of production and exploration, Saudi Aramco (2008)

* Energy Watch Group in Germany (2006)

Independent studies conclude that global crude oil production will now decline from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time, demand will increase. Oil supplies will be even tighter for the U.S. As oil producing nations consume more and more oil domestically they will export less and less. Because demand is high in China, India, the Middle East, and other oil producing nations, once global oil production begins to decline, demand will always be higher than supply. And since the U.S. represents one fourth of global oil demand, whatever oil we conserve will be consumed elsewhere. Thus, conservation in the U.S. will not slow oil depletion rates significantly.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment. The independent scientists of the Energy Watch Group conclude in a 2007 report titled: “Peak Oil Could Trigger Meltdown of Society:”

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."


With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated building systems.

This is documented in a free 48 page report that can be downloaded, website posted, distributed, and emailed: http://www.peakoilassociates.com/POAnalysis.html

I used to live in NH-USA, but moved to a sustainable place. Anyone interested in relocating to a nice, pretty, sustainable area with a good climate and good soil? Email: clifford dot wirth at yahoo dot com or give me a phone call which operates here as my old USA-NH number 603-668-4207. http://survivingpeakoil.blogspot.com/

Sunshiner said...

I worry that there is an element within the Peak Oil 'movement' that actually want things to break down and try to fit their figures etc to support this.

Of course oil supplies will diminish and create unrest and uncertainty throughout the world. Coupled with Climate Change, which seems to be accelerating, this is a potent danger for established society.

Population will fall, dramatically. Economies will collapse. But if we start early enough we should be able to alleviate at least some of the worst effects.

Certainly re-establishing our rail networks will help to keep economies going. They may well become the most enduring icons of the old hydrocarbon era.

We need to switch resources now from all the dead and dying activities that still seem to enthrall most - the old road/car economy, suburbia, socialism, consumerism, the celebrity 'culture'.

It's going to happen whatever we do, but if we manage it properly, surely some aspects of what we have now (the best aspects, the less energy-dependent aspects) will survive.

It might not have the glamour of survivalism or the Hollywood stereotyped apocalypse, but to me it seems a more likely outcome ...

Toddingtonted said...

Hey Clifford, petrol is now under 90p per litre at our local ASDA supermarket and getting cheaper by the day. However, I'm sure you are right in the long run. The lack of investment in oil production is perhaps the real key rather than the price at the pump. As one of the major oil producers (Iraq) is now coming back on line it will be interesting to see how that changes things.