Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
what makes it worthwhile!
The signalbox almost fully restored from a pile of bricks.
Looking good along the up platform.
When the Jinty was there - 2005.
Wow - some of the seething resentment from MN has even appeared on this blog (the downside of breaking the link from the main SDRHT website!), much of it I suspect arising from the way the Board tends to ignore what's going on at ground level and coming down hard (and disproportionately) on anyone that dares to bring up perfectly valid points. Of course there are a few headbangers on the ground who will never agree with the Board no matter what they do, but one thing is certain - EVERYBODY at MN has a passion and love for the S&D. If this sometimes causes grief then what view held passionately doesn't?
The posters are right - MN should be a jewel in the heritage movement. I think from the views above it's clear that MN does get an awful lot right - but things like closed facilities on Saturdays, junk around the yard, far too many freight vehicles, other line's discards and the lack of information will turn people off.
I think the whole heritage movement needs to be shown that MN has the potential to be a fantastic credit to the whole movement. The S&D is far too important a line to have just a few miles of track relaid. MN needs to stress that its intention is to restore - at the very least - Radstock to Shepton with links to the network at each end. With this intention declared the New S&D for example could concentrate perhaps on Radstock-Bath (aquisition of trackbed etc) at first, knowing that the next 6 or 7 miles are covered. All this activity at the northern end should encourage Shillingstone to become more ambitious too!
The key is volunteers at first. MN has a large pool of volunteers (about 50 active) and they have done wonders, but this is the S&D!! There should be crowds of railway enthusiasts descending on Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone every weekend, both as volunteers and visitors. Something is wrong, and I've always considered it to be a lack of visible ambition. There should be articles on this every month in the railway press. The kudos involved in restoring the real S&D is enormous.
Perhaps when trains start running things will change, though the act of running trains will bring new problems to the line.
But in the long term this will all work through. As the S&D is restored as a real working railway then our profile will rise, when we can once again economically run big engines pulling 12 coaches over Masbury, or engage in superb engineering feats like rebuilding Prestleigh Viaduct or the entry into Bath, the whole world will see why the S&D is so special.
MN is important, possibly the most important part of the whole heritage railway movement. We all owe it to the S&D to restore the route as quickly, and as closely to the original, as humanly possible.
Two words - GET INVOLVED.