Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Even when all was quiet on the S&D front - the railless years from about 1970 to 2000 - the S&D lived on in peoples' minds. The books, Ivo's photos, regular magazine articles, TV programmes; all kept the S&D alive in a small way. Now we're perched on the edge of regular trains returning to a small part of the S&D the value of branding will become ever more important. Shops at Midsomer Norton, Shillingstone, Gartell and Washford all contain a range of S&D-related items. There's a particular intensity with the S&D that you really don't find with other lines. Products and the whole experience need to draw on this. Enthusiasts and regular visitors alike need to be constantly reminded how special the S&D was - and is. Once full trains are wending their way from an ever-expanding S&D we shouldn't lose sight of this. Even when we start taking on real traffic - commuters to Bath and freight onto the network - the importance of branding should increase, not decrease.
When the great national rail rebuilding starts in earnest - probably in 10 to 20 years - we need our loyal customer base to demand that the S&D be rebuilt as WE want it, not as some sort of utilitarian set-up foisted on us by central government. We want staffed stations, loco hauled trains, manual signalling, carriages with compartments etc - all the things that made the railways such a great travel experience in the past. Safe, atmospheric, efficient and sustainable!
Friday, July 18, 2008
If you get the chance pop down to Shillingstone this Sunday (20 July 2008) - they are having their first Open Day. There will be a grand opening of the station facilities. Progress at Shillingstone has been excellent over the last year!
If you look in the shop there should still be some of the late Syd Howlett's books available. Syd was a huge asset to the Trust at Shillingstone - his ashes were scattered on the site.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The new S&D Telegraph arrived today. It's better than ever and a total credit to the Trust at Midsomer Norton. This is the first time I've received one at a distance as it were, rather than being in the middle of everything that's going on!
Really excellent news is the appointment of Doug Hill, formerly General Manager at the West Somerset Railway, to my old position of Finance Director. Hopefully he's finding it pretty straightforward to pick up from where I left off. I established a Quickbooks accounting facility which is in my opinion the best accountancy software for small business that exists, so it shouldn't be too difficult!
If you've ever hesitated about joining the Trust at Midsomer Norton a quick flick through the Telegraph should convince you that the S&D is a line going places!
Monday, July 07, 2008
'Near the end of the 20th century, the belief in the desirability of perpetual growth in mobility and transport has started to fade. In many countries, highway accessibility is so ubiquitous that transport cost has almost disappeared as a location factor for industry. In metropolitan areas, the myth that rising travel demand will ever be satisfied by more motorways has been shattered by reappearing congestion.
People have realised that the car has not only brought freedom of movement but also air pollution, traffic noise and accidents. It has become obvious that in the face of finite fossil fuel resources and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the use of petroleum cannot grow forever.
There is now broad agreement that present trends in transport are not sustainable, and many conclude that fundamental changes in the technology, design, operation, and financing of transport systems are needed.'
For those of you fazed (or crazed in some cases) by the prospect of Peak Oil and Climate Change, why not treat yourself to this book, which is a level-headed, academic but readable work that gives a far brighter prediction for future transport than many of the hair-shirted Peak Oil crazies would like you to have! Electricity is the key ...
Friday, July 04, 2008
Midsomer Norton South.
Avon Valley Railway.
Lynton and Barnstaple.
A great idea from Robin Whitlock - a Facebook group specifically for potential railway volunteers. Take a look and join today!