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 20, 2009

hope






Posted today by Nick on the message board and something I think perhaps needs a wider audience! (This refers to Midsomer Norton of course).

'If I was chairman, I'd:

Scrap the Bitton sleeping coach, it's full of asbestos and will cost £2500+ to clear therefore useless.

Replace the mark 3 buffet with a mark 1 which could also be used as a runner on future Sunset Specials and have it open at least Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Build a matching stone toilet block next to the stables and demolish the 1970 carbuncle.

Rebuild the porters' huts as a gift shop, return the booking hall and waiting room to period use, making darn sure all window boards were removed and stored out of sight of anyone on Saturday, Sunday and Monday 9-5

Start a Saturday working party

Make sure no volunteer parks in the station. It's for tool/material drop off and collection only.

Sell or scrap a few more pieces of rolling stock.

Not have any grounded bodies on site.

Not have any pway material stored in the station area.

Have green wooden roller doors built for the goods shed.

Have the telegraph pole route rebuilt for use.

Have period lamps, signs and seats on the platforms.

Actively pursue the acquisition of Redan bridge and the Chilcompton station site and secure them for the future.

Rebuild the lamp hut in its 1905-1961 postion.

Store all stock on the up main and not in the station unless required working on.

Redo the up shelter and finish the station canopy valencing and correct cast iron rwp configuration.

Rebuild the bridge garden retaining wall

Actively pursue a permanent Jinty or Fowler 4F.

These are the main things that are long overdue to have happened at Midsomer Norton and a fresh injection of heritage minded individuals are desperately required. Everyone please take note of these points.'

Considering I've been practically outlawed by the Trust just for saying that it would be a good idea to have a few notices around site giving details of the Trust and when open, I suspect Nick will probably be hung from the loading gauge arm!

The Chair's position is up for election this year, so it would be great to have a few candidates and a proper election. I have heard that there is a minimum age limit of 55 though.
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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

midsomer norton needs to be modelled on crowcombe, horsted keynes or corfe castle and not bitton. until this nettle is grasped, and I doubt it will then msn is likely to continue to enjoy the same level of support it currently receives.

David B said...

As a Trust member, I wholeheartedly agree with all of the points raised by Nick. The station needs to be made visitor friendly right now, in time for the tourist season that fast approaches. Tourists bring money, which funds the project, which brings even more improvements, which gets the line open faster.

I'd also recommend upping membership fees to £20 a year. Given that organisations such as the National Trust charge £46 p/a, English Heritage £41.50 p/a, and Bath Preservation Trust £20 p/a, I think this is a reasonable amount.

Anonymous said...

Well,
as a life member i must agree with most of the things that Nick has said.
Because i live so far from MSN, i have only visited it once since joining a few years ago and i must say it was like walking into steptoe's back yard.
yes i know space is not forthcoming but some of the things look bloody awful.
The chairman, well, i will keep that to myself what i think of him.
(min age 55 ?.....ageist sods you lot lol) Insert a rocket up the chairmans chocolate starfish and launch him out of here. Every suggestion you tell him, he ignores. There is no need for ignorance and being discourteous to members like he has been. If he does that to the public, well....
MkIII catering coach ?
In all the S & D books i have etc, i have only seen MkI and an old 6 wheeler catering coach but no MKIII's. It really does look like the odd one out here. Really pants i am sorry to say.
(Scrap the Bitton sleeping coach, it's full of asbestos and will cost £2500+ to clear therefore useless.)
I can find a cheaper bet here. A gallon of petrol and a box of matches, say local vandals did it and claim off the insurance lmfao.
Not sure about the diesel we have at the moment.That looks about in place as the mkIII coach. Yes i know we need to move things about and shunting but.....
Perhaps an 08 shunter ?
08401 and 08402 (D3516 and D3517)are alive though they worked over the S & D (for the wrong reasons)i know that one is up for grabs !
Jinty or a fowler 4f, any steam ie 7f etc will do but, where do we store it ? If we do get one then MSN might need to have to do guard duty on site 24 / 7.
Me, i say sod chilcompton and go towards Radstock. Why ? We could connect to the line there etc. Yes i know its an ex gwr line but it connects to the mainline and has a platform (i think). The cost of removing all that crap from the cutting near the tunnel at chill will cost a bloody bomb. Save the money and buy a bridge. Then we could move the landfill by rail and not by road.
Anyway, i am out of here.
And before you all moan, you may not like what i have written but if nothing is done then the MSN will be the titanic of the land...glug glug glug

David B said...

Heading Radstock way is a nice idea, but you should have a read of the complaints on the BaNES planning website when they suggested running a cycle path that way. There are a lot of NIMBYs and badger lovers to deal with going East.

Chilcompton direction gives almost 1 mile of open countryside to run through. Once you get to the tunnel cutting, build a temporary halt and then make a tourist attraction out of the track-gang sweating their way through tons of soil. Nothing gets donations flowing faster than the sight of sweaty men putting their backs into a well-supported local project.

RoytheBoy10 said...

Some interesting points made Anonymous, and I agree with some of them. With regard to rolling stock, if it doesn't have a purpose it shouldn't be there. Especially on a site with limited space. The "08" would be good, especially as it would be rebuilding and not destroying the S&D. As for Radstock and the bridge, you need a double track bridge that looks (or a passing resemblance)from the station like the old one with the double track snaking away round the corner . Then it really would be MSN like the old days and no footpath to get in the way. Buffet coach, well thats a sign of the times, visitors need good quality facilities as well as toilets but someone could at least disguise it with stone and hipped roof.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, although a member I'm only an infrequent visitor as I live so far away, and I have to concur with the point about "Steptoe's backyard". Whilst a little harsh, there is a dearth of information that even when the station is closed, could be invalauble for getting money and interest from people. At this stage of the project I'm not overly fussed by the rolling stock as Joe Public and his ice-cream licking kids (where the money is!) are just happy to see a choo choo. Us purists will have to wait for a Bulleid or a (F to come steaming through.

Anonymous said...

The chairman is not the problem, he's always had the true s&d at heart. its when the board collectively make the wrong decisions, knowingly, to placate some of the idiots on the ground, against the advice of very knowledgable people like john palfrey and formerly, myself, ian harrington, viv jones and others that are no longer there and made a massive contribution to the place and knew how to create the correct ambiance and how to carry the project forward professionally. At the moment, a select few professionals are keeping the project together, glossed over by a great magazine. how long before someone upsets these remaining few guys?

Anonymous said...

At the moment, a select few professionals are keeping the project together, glossed over by a great magazine. how long before someone upsets these remaining few guys?.......
Well, as per my post (3rd one down)
it appears 'the board' are not listening from what the post above this one says. Put them up the wall and shoot them !
Why,i do not know but to me it seems as someone here says, ice creams bring some money in but who in the hell wants to look at the wagons ?
Yes i know all heritage lines all started somewhere and yes we are young compared to KWVR, Bluebell etc and yes we dont have lots of dosh but and i must say this, if we do not attract 'bodies' to MSN with at least a 'steamy' (even a rusty hulk like 92207 at shill) then even locals will say, oh, it sounds like another load of kids who want a full scale train set to play with.We have to get people to look around MSN, part with their pennies etc but we need to give them something to look at that will make them come back again and again. Dont get me wrong ok and i can see the pics one here that there are people who work their conkers off to get the signal box up and running etc etc so i dont wish to appear to disrespect them ok.
I wish 'the board', chairman etc to listen to US with our ideas and not what they think is right all the time.
Before i go, whats to going rate for an 08 shunter????? Be nice to get 08402 back rebuilding the line where she helped rip up.
any way chaps, chocks away and tally ho...........

Anonymous said...

make use of what you've got and open the buffet car as a going concern, daily...the car park is better than any layby, and the coach better than any old caravan serving teas by the roadside. head towards Chilcompton, double track, using the Up Main for stock. tidy up the station site, and run an out and back shuttle service. get leases organised for South of the Tunnel, and North of Silver Street missing bridge, and then campaign for a Tunnel Cutting dig & new bridge. stop worrying about wrong coach, right wagon etc, that can come much later. above all, keep the plan simple, more double track, the hard work has been done, ie getting it all started, and thus far.....
just remember how far we have come.....

Anonymous said...

we need to get rid of the little power egos that have come from AVR and others that are unwilling to listen to sound heritage advice before the whole project fizzles into oblivion

Anonymous said...

with regards to the comment about going to radstock instead of chilcompton next, you only need to look at the objectors comments on the online planning application to know that in these pre-peak oil years, getting a line back down the "green" corridor between all those houses will be nigh impossible, even if the highways dept gave permission for silver st bridge to be rebuilt and downgraded the road. how many people also know or care, that a crafty little developer has also blocked the trackbed beyond norton hill colliery and is trying to sneak a road and houses in on the trackbed? hmmm? the sc*m developers at radstock are also going to cover the gwr station, and goods yard with housing, thus loosing the mainline link to frome forever. i'm afraid development greed has reigned for the last 46 years and will continue to eat away piecemeal at the trackbed for many years to come and there is nothing that us rose tinted hardcore enthusiasts can do about it i'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

just to expand on my earlier comments, that, incidentally have been mostly ignored for the last 5 years!! - hence why we are in the state we're in...

Scrap the Bitton sleeping coach, it's full of asbestos and will cost £2500+ to clear therefore useless......who in the hell said ok that sounds good yes we'll take it thankyou. ah. oh dear we've made a big blunder, its contaminated, whoops, there goes 66 feet of siding space and another gargantulan eyesore. why was this coach not fully investigated before?????

Replace the mark 3 buffet with a mark 1 which could also be used as a runner on future Sunset Specials and have it open at least Saturday, Sunday and Monday............. this coach is an eyesore and has no place at a famous wayside country station. A mark one in maunsell green would be better and could be attached to a 3 coach running set and provide an evening dining experience like the minehead blue anchor shuttles, but not with a mark 3 in the rake.

Build a matching stone toilet block next to the stables and demolish the 1970 carbuncle....&......Rebuild the porters' huts as a gift shop, return the booking hall and waiting room to period use, making darn sure all window boards were removed and stored out of sight of anyone on Saturday, Sunday and Monday 9-5...........the toilet block is the biggest eyesore on sight and the booking hall and waiting room were restored as a period piece and operational ticket office and general office and not a book shop. as there is no space for another ground anchored coach for a shop, building a matching half sized bulding into the bank adjoining the stables is the only option for a toilet block. this makes sense; ie toilet, museum, and buffet car in the same area. the stone gents overhang and twin poters huts next to the station could then be rebuilt as one shop, disguised from the outside by the original 2 sets of cladding, chimney etc.

Start a Saturday working party........we tried this but got severly told off for fear of upsetting the sunday gang and so resigned on 16/05/2004.

Make sure no volunteer parks in the station. It's for tool/material drop off and collection only.......this is common sense if you want to attrach visitors but hey, the volunteer comes first eh?

Sell or scrap a few more pieces of rolling stock.......a great job has been made of the wagon restoration so far but there are still a few no-hopers that need getting rid of.

Not have any grounded bodies on site.....clutter, eyesores, the rolling vans can be better used to this effect.

Not have any pway material stored in the station area.....big eyesore, and now that all the concretes are on the shearn land, the steelwork can follow suit. no-one is going to rob them.

Have green wooden roller doors built for the goods shed........this is long overdue, to finish the building off. good to see that they are planning on a loco pit on the silver st side of the shed, but this needs to extend into the shed as well, with a lockable pit door mid way.

Have the telegraph pole route rebuilt for use....1 pole every 180 feet, especially the iconic one next to the signalbox.

Have period lamps, signs and seats on the platforms......long overdue

Actively pursue the acquisition of Redan bridge and the Chilcompton station site and secure them for the future......if not then they may be demolished and built on respectively and we loose our destination.

Rebuild the lamp hut in its 1905-1961 postion......a simple 6 foot by 4.5 foot timber framed, corrugated affair with red brick base.

Store all stock on the up main and not in the station unless required working on......visitors have no view of the box or mainline from the road or platform. it looks a muddle and all stock should be stored on the up main beyond the crossover.

Redo the up shelter and finish the station canopy valencing and correct cast iron rwp configuration.....little attention to detail does matter, its why most of us are in the game

Rebuild the bridge garden retaining wall...a finishing touch, concrete clad in stone, and the sun moon and star could be 50% bigger

Actively pursue a permanent Jinty or Fowler 4F....no-one wants to see industrials,or gwr crap and bigger engines are for special events only.

if enough people agree with all the plus points weve beentalking about then maybe we can get some fresh proffession blood in at the top who are not scared of telling the people on the ground what to do. they realy need a kick up the backside and be taken round the better preserved stations in preservation to be shown the etiquette of how to do it properly, and why it matters so much. there is no room for playing trains, window boards, blue tarpaulins or junk here!!!!!!!

Toddingtonted said...

I have yet to visit Midsomer Norton and I know that there is much desire to improve the "new" S&D as a rejuvinated railway but don't beat yourselves up as you have done a tremendous amount as it is. After all, the photos on this blog and on other sites demonsrate the progress thus far. I guess everyone wants to put the S&D back as they would like. Some of the things on the "wants" list posted on this blog are "quick fixes" whilst others would be perfectly achievable if one or more of the writers was to emply even a small number of the current 1.92 million unemployed to restore the S&D how he or she wanted it. Unless you have someone or some group who can bankroll the project then you are going to have to like what you have and forget about having what you like. It may have not escaped your notice but the money is a little tight at the moment and the chances of any progress in anything has just slowed and it will be slower tomorrow unless people power can be harnessed. Let's face it, now is not the time for teddy throwing. I have seen it on other railway projects and it rarely does any good. Sometimes it does but I don't believe now is a good time.

Anonymous said...

At last someone with some common sense. Well done Toddington Ted!

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry, but thats still no excuse for ignorance and discouraging those with vision. us moaners (how dare we!!!?) only have the project at heart