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 06, 2009

options for the 'New'

The New S&D will hope to quite quickly set up a short section of line to announce our presence and intent to the world! Ideally the line would be a few miles long and would, right from the start, fulfil a genuine transport need.

My own views are that the following sections would fulfil this - Burnham to Highbridge (up platform side) and Wells to Glastonbury. I'd like to see a mix of utilitarian (and inexpensive) trains such as the Parry People Mover and a steam worked tourist service. Both would need to be economically viable. Burnham has the advantage of a captive market and a seaside destination, as well as a network connection, but Glastonbury to Wells would link a prime tourist destination to England's smallest (and probably most attractive) city. Both lines would be under 3 miles long, ideal for a start up.

The Wells line also has the advantage of being expandable towards a connection - ie by heading east from Glastonbury back to Evercreech then down to Templecombe (or by a connection at Bruton at first). Beyond that the line could be extended northwards to Shepton Mallet, giving a useful network with connections to the main line - and becoming tantalisingly close to the Midsomer Norton line as it heads southwards.

But this is all a long way into the future! But a PPM at Midsomer Norton would be a nice start!
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