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, February 07, 2009

it's beginning to look a lot like Chilcompton

Top three Chilcompton station, bottom looking towards Chilcompton from tunnels. All Mick Knox.

Well, talk about letting events happen! I'm getting lots of support via this blog and emails for the proposal to look at restoring Chilcompton first as part of the New Somerset and Dorset Railway's remit. Although the New S&D will not be officially launched for nearly four weeks, it's nice to now that we will be hitting the ground running and firing off press releases right away with something solid to offer.

Personally I'd like to see us then acquire sections of trackbed, station sites etc between Chilcompton and Shepton Mallet, to make restoration of this section a lot easier when the time is right. Obviously any land acquired that is then needed by the Midsomer Norton group to extend train services will be released on a peppercorn rental basis, hopefully allowing them to reach Chilcompton proper a lot quicker than they would have otherwise done.

The Lynton and Barnstaple have cleverly used this idea to grab bits of trackbed as they became available, making the process of restoring their line far easier.
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GMasterH said...

Recently I have learned that in Norfolk, on the former Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, once the lifeline of rural Norfolk, a new project has been started and Whitwell and Reepham Station. Along with the North Norfolk Railway at Sheringham they can begin working towards Melton Constable, the former hub of the network, with it's loco shed and locomotive works still intact, and re-build it towards many of it's former destinations linking the comunities back together.

This is the sort of thing the S&D needs. Numerous groups working together for a common cause, working to link up with eachother and restore the network. A group in Chilcompton will have the same effect for the S&D. Plus with the restoration work being carried out at Masbury and Shillingstone it's only a matter of time...

Freddie said...

Yes, it makes sense to start getting land wherever you can over the Mendips. Midomser Norton to Radstock is entriely owned by BANES whereas the piecemal ownership on the other direction will require years of work to sort out. The sooner someone starts the better.

Anonymous said...

Launching groups around the SDJR could be an idea. SDJR Enthusiasts could voulenteer for their 'local group' although progress on each station would be slow we would defently have the land. The 'Local Groups' should be quite far apart for example additional ones in Templecombe, Glastonbury, Midford and the Highbridge area. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

The North Norfolk Railway have no intention of getting back to Melton Constable and it would be finacially stupid to do so.
We hardly have enough volunteers and paid staff as it is without having to look after even more railway.

An extension into Holt proper would be just about right, providing someone coughed up the huge amount of money required.

The former works at Melton is now a very busy industrial estate but not busy enough for any rail transport, and believe me the only good thing about Melton is the road out! It is not a tourist destination and would end up costing a lot of money and probably lose money on a daily basis.

As for the Norfolk orbital idea, that again is a no go, even the main people behind it are now starting to admit that. Leave the NNR alone to be the quality heritage line that it is.

Stewart M said...

I used to play in these places as a kid. The closure of the railway was bad news in the long term, but grew new for us as kids!!!

I could see the road bridge over Frys Well from my front door.

Stewart M - Melbourne