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!

Monday, June 30, 2008

more from shillingstone

Some more shots from Shillingstone, taken Saturday 28 June 2008.

When I was there last year it looked like tracklaying between the platforms was imminent, but at the moment the only track at Shillingstone are the short lengths holding the 9F shell and the diesel. It was like this at Midsomer Norton, with sidings being laid first and the main line following. The track at Shillingstone was previously used to hold the 7F displayed at Bath Green Park in 2006! Before that I think it was at Midsomer Norton.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

shillingstone progress

I managed to pop in to Shillingstone on the way back from honeymoon yesterday. What a difference a year makes! The shop was open, the station was buzzing with people (and dogs), the building and platform were accessible and unlocked and there's a real working loco sitting on track. They are making fantastic progress for a small team and I'd encourage anyone who lives close to them to get involved with the restoration.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

don't miss ...

... this weekend's Gala Days events at Midsomer Norton.

Above are a few shots from last year's event. Unadvertised brake van trips were run (for members only) over both days. Top shot is of the approach to the station from the brake van, middle is of Wulfric listening to the (now moved) sleeper pile as we passed it and the bottom shot is of the evening disco on the catering coach patio. It was a great weekend!
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

thanks! (and sorry ...)

This blog seems to have come alive behind the scenes recently! Thanks to all of you who have been posting to the message board, also for all the comments and messages of support.

Now, I'm getting married on Saturday followed by the inevitable honeymoon, so expect nothing on this blog for about 10 days. But I should then be back with a site report from Shillingstone (as it's on the way back!) plus hopefully something from MN too.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Back, better than ever and now a troll-free zone!

Thanks to all the messages of support! This blog will now continue - and hopefully be bigger and better than ever.

From now on any troll messages will be removed, both on the message board and in the comments section. It's pretty obvious that these are coming from people that may have been offended by my non-S&D blogs, which take a much stronger position on Peak Oil etc. It did seem odd that all the messages were mentioning this subject, even though it appears rarely on this site. The final message, claiming that you needed to 'believe' in Peak Oil was both hilarious and disturbing. Peak Oil is a simple geological and economic fact, and this daft comment proved (to me) that these trolls were really getting ridiculous and desperate.

So don't worry - I won't be giving up this blog, there will still be the same balance of site reports and looks at the wider transport picture and we'll also have the benefit of no more troll posts! So some good has come out of the recent attacks!

Don't for one minute think that this will mean the site becomes bland or boring. I will always happily retain posts that challenge what I'm saying or what's going on in the world - what will go will be personal attacks, mad posts (mainly pseudo or un-scientific attacks on climate change or peak oil) and posts trying to tell me what I can post on my own blog!

The S&D was Britain's finest railway, but it's no good to us as a bunch of memories, fading photos and empty trackbed. Only its restoration and reopening as a real and heritage railway will be a fitting monument to the folly of those 1960s politicians that neither understood or appreciated the limits to road transport that are now so obvious to ALL of us, including the trolls!

I'm really going to enjoy this site from now on. I hope you do too!

Expect reports on MN and Shillingstone in the next couple of weeks, plus LOADS on Peak Oil and the end of road transport ...
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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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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

summer 2006

A few previously unpublished shots taken on a Monday towards the end of summer 2006.

It's funny but many of these pictures are already taking on a historic element - none of these scenes could be recreated today as so much has happened on the ground since.

I started as a member of the Monday Gang, clearing trackbed, wheelbarrowing ballast, painting etc. I loved it! I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to get some fresh air and really feel like they are helping this part of the S&D come back to life. Call in any Monday to join up!
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hillside wheels

Visitors may be a little intrigued by this short stretch of track plus a pair of wagon wheels that appeared on the hillside a few weeks ago.

Eventually this will be a display area for the NCB wooden bodied coal wagon that was given to the Trust in the early days and was our first piece of rolling stock. Volunteers are always needed to help with this museum aspect of the S&D!
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

open day

Midsummer at Midsomer 2008

21/22 June. 10.00 - 16.00.

• New rolling stock
• Re-built signalbox open
• Buffet coach for drinks & snacks
• Stalls and sideshows
• Station shop for gifts, books, DVDs, videos & second-hand bookshop
• Vintage cars & buses

£2 entrance fee - children & senior concessions £1. (All proceeds to the project.)

Try to get there - you'll be amazed!

Unfortunately I'll be missing it as I'm getting married on the Saturday!
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Friday, June 06, 2008


139.12 dollars a barrel!

Expect the S&D to be reopened throughout in less than 20 years ...
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