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!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

radstock 1967, 1968 and 2006

(Courtesy Jeffery Grayer)

Radstock was a classic location with two separate railways cutting through the town, offering services to Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol and Frome, as well as loads of freight. The top three shots are of coal workings from Writhlington to Portishead. Back in 67 and 68 these ran via Pensford, but the 1968 flood led to the closure of the line due to flood damage at Pensford. Surprisingly the A37 road, which also suffered major damage, was NOT abandoned. After the flood the section of line between Radstock and Mells Road was reopened for the Portishead coal traffic, a much more roundabout route.

The New S&D plans to restore the link to Bristol eventually, hopefully the superb viaduct is not too damaged by the 1968 flood. I suspect it was an excuse to close this valuable line rather than anything too scary!

Car drivers used to whinge about being caught at the crossings in Radstock, but at least they had the option of using the trains. Nowadays, in this strange hiatus between trains, it can sometimes take 20 minutes just to negotiate the double roundabouts near where the crossings used to be. As usual we have gone backwards.
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