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!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Photos Mick Knox

A few shots around and about Cole. This was a particularly attractive spot on the line. Top shot shows something that really shouldn't be happening in the 21st century - a house being built on/near the trackbed. This is pure madness.

The policy for dealing with encroachment on our trackbed will be quite simple -

a) Divert where possible.

b) Tunnel/bridge if a not possible.

c) Where a or b are not possible then the properties will be purchased, rented out to recover the capital cost (or part of it if the line is quickly relaid) and then demolished with the bricks etc recycled and sold on. Whilst we would always prefer that this can be done by agreement we will certainly use compulsory purchase powers where we have no choice. This power is available to any public railway offering a proper service, and has been used recently at Croydon (on houses built only a few years earlier on the Tramlink ex-SR trackbed) and on the Waverley route in Scotland. Similar powers were also used against a particularly Neanderthal farmer on the Welsh Highland Railway!

d) Any costs incurred would be claimed against local/regional/national government where appropriate.

All railway trackbeds should have been protected even back in the 60s as it was obvious that no matter what happened (Peak Oil or business as usual) these routes would need to be rebuilt at some time in the future.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for anyone that has bought a house on a railway trackbed. They should have been aware that the property would almost certainly at some time in the future be demolished where no other options were available. But I suspect that 9 times out of 10 diversion will be possible. Remember that the inhabitants of the house will also desperately need the railway!
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1 comment:

GMasterH said...

A man after my own heart! KNOCK EM DOWN! The S&D is screaming to be re-laid, so just don't build on it anymore.