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!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

new dawn for the S&D

The above photo captures probably the iconic moment of the new S&D - a Jinty running a passenger train on the main line. Many thought this day would never come, and it was an absolute credit to the Midsomer Norton Trust when it did happen. All this was done with volunteer labour and with minimum income.

In 2009 the Trust at MN is on the verge of running REGULAR trains. Every single member of the Trust should be glowing with pride at this incredible achievement. Hopefully once trains are running even more new members will flock to the Trust. Running trains is going to need a whole new tranche of volunteers filling roles that currently don't even exist. At the same time the line will still be extending. If you do feel like getting involved at Midsomer Norton please contact the station for more details.

Further south there is the wonderful Gartell railway, which operates narrow gauge trains over a short length of 2 foot gauge track, partly on the trackbed of the S&D. This line is situated just south of Templecombe, and has plans to extend north. The line only operates about once a month, so please check their website for dates. They also need volunteers of course!

Further south still is the Shillingstone group, who have made incredible strides in restoring this most charming of S&D stations. They have a working loco and some track panels already laid.

Elsewhere Masbury is being restored, but this site is private so please do not trespass. The Trust at MN are able to arrange occasional visits. The eventual plan is to relay track.

There are always rumours that something is going to happen at Midford. This is probably the most scenic point on the whole S&D, but there are access problems for a small line.

Off the S&D at Washford there is an excellent museum full of S&D relics ranging from photos to a full size 7F.

The various S&D groups are all working together to extend the S&D presence and experience. Join as many of them as you can!

In March this year the New Somerset and Dorset Railway will be launched. This group will be looking at ways to restore the WHOLE route as a working steam railway. A well as the obvious heritage and tourist passenger trains, it will also look at ways of operating 'genuine' services - passenger and freight. Railways will play a much greater role in the future within the UK's transport system as the oil starts to run out and alternatives prove unviable. The NSDR will seek to ensure that the S&D is one of the first lines restored! Membership to the 'New' will be available from 6.3.09, but if you want to get involved now please don't hesitate to get in touch!
Posted by Picasa

No comments: