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

the message spreads!

Recently posted as a comment on a VERY influential railwayman's blogsite by an S&D supporter (unfortunately not me!) -

Now is the time to reverse the Beeching\Marples closures .....

With the credit crunch well underway and the oil dependent Western countries facing depression now is the time to invest in a sustainable transport system for the good of the whole country, and by that I mean railways.

We had them once, and although the talk today is of having an integrated transport system, the closest we ever got to that was under the Big Four, and the wartime railway executive. British Railways lost out under the British Transport Commission, losing its road based and ancillary services and then, ever since Earnest Marples became Transport Minister in 1959 we have been a road obsessed country. Our railway network was slowly destroyed, and now all those years later we are all truly paying the cost for that era. As demand increases for rail services, and the network appearing to be at breaking point, now is the time to finally accept that much of the Beeching\Marples was a mistake, and therefore these old line formations need protecting, ready for reinstatement. It may seem a bit late to some people, but the longer this option is left, the more the cost will be in the future, because oil isn't going to last for ever, and we can't grow enough bio fuels to replace it. Oil may seem cheap once again after this summer’s excess, but as soon as the world recovers from the recession upwards the price will go. The country needs to have something to work for, and rebuilding them now makes sense, and alongside these railways we should lay the fibre optic cables for super fast internet connections, and we could have two sustainable transport systems for the future.

Or we could just sit in our cars on the motorway, more than likely, full of rage!
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