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, January 12, 2009

Clutton RIP

Hot on the heels of my link to the Clutton site yesterday came news that the project had closed down. Well, if I'd scrolled just a little futher on the site I'd have spotted it myself!

Last time I called there I spotted a mark one coach and a narrow gauge industrial diesel, so they were obviously beyond stage one.

These station restoration schemes are always a little fragile unless somebody has bottomless pockets. The inspriration for Clutton I think were a couple of restored stations in Herefordshire, but these were privately owned so doubtless had the funds to proceed, similar to what is happening in Masbury. The downside is access of course!

Without operating trains there's little to set such a place aside from any other tourist attraction offering food and drinks (I think the mark one was going to become a buffet car). There would also be real problems of staffing, especially if it was going to be with unpaid workers!

This was why it was so important to rebrand the old SDRHT 'Midsomer Norton South Station Project' to 'Mendip Main Line Project', to let people know that our ambitions lay well beyond the infamous 'short demonstration line' that we once proclaimed!

Right from the start of running trains the Midsomer Norton set up will be looking to expand both north and south. Fans of the S&D deserve nothing less!

Clutton will no doubt arise from the ashes eventually, but as part of a far larger network!

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