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!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

achievement ...

I've read a few negative things about Midsomer Norton lately, mainly on forums.

These people haven't got a clue what they are talking about. To write off MN as a hobby for ten people is ludicrous. On many Sundays there are 30 volunteers on site, even Mondays sometimes bring out 20 or more. And this is before there are trains running!

I love the picture above. The spot from where it was taken was under tons of spoil back in the early nineties. There was of course no track! The loading gauge was actually buried almost to the top in this spoil heap. The signalbox in the distance was a pile of rubble. The gap between the platforms was infilled. This has all been recreated from scratch, as can any point on the S&D, or all of it.

This could have been a boring picture of a bland housing estate, because that is what it almost became. Thanks to Shirley Steel and Nick Howes this wasn't allowed to happen. We owe them both an enormous debt.

So before anyone writes MN, or Shillingstone, or indeed the New S&D off, remember what has already been achieved!
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