Above are 3 views of the former Bristol to Frome via Midsomer Norton and Radstock line. This section is currently an excellent footpath and cycleway. The bottom two views show the Five Arches, the S&D route ran over the top of this, and it shouldn't be too many years before trains are running over this section of the S&D again.
The Frome-Bristol line is really in four stages these days. The first section from Frome to Great Elm is still heavily used by freight trains, carrying stone. Beyond Great Elm towards Radstock the line is still in place but disused. This section should be restored by the North Somerset Railway. At Radstock itself the site was planned for redevelopment with a strip reserved for the railway to connect with the S&D coming up from Midsomer Norton. In the current financial climate it's highly unlikely that this redevelopment scheme will proceed as it is mainly for new housing. The section from Radstock to Midsomer Norton and just beyond is a cycleway/footpath. Beyond this the line is totally disused, though the station at Clutton is slowly being restored.
The Bristol to Radstock section closed in 1968 after the severe floods which undermined the viaduct at Pensford, although the viaduct still stands. At its northern end the line served Whitchurch, a busy suburb of Bristol these days, with dreadful traffic problems! Pensford itself is totally unsuitable for lorries and the road is often blocked for minutes at a time by large lorries trying to pass each other.
'Modern' transport - Pensford style!
The New S&D will look to this line to provide a link to the network at Bristol, rather than the far more difficult restoration between Bath Green Park and Bristol via Bitton. This would allow through trains from the north to leave the main network at Bristol, run down a restored Bristol to Radstock line, then take the main S&D route south to Bournemouth. This will not prejudice restoration of the iconic route to Bath Green Park as Bath is considered a worthy destination in any case! It may well be possible to link to the network somewhere in the Bath area, giving us a second outlet to the north. These developments assume an almost total end to road traffic, probably 20-25 years into the future.
|Bristol-Radstock ex-GW line|