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!

Friday, February 20, 2009

shillingstone (1)


First stop on our Stour Valley trip was Shillingstone. Much to our surprise it was open - we even managed to get tea and stuff from the shop. Apparently Wednesday is a work day there so all the facilities were open.

At last track's starting to appear between the platforms, the station bulding itself is nice and roomy and they are laying it out very well inside. The old shop has now been converted to a small museum.

They seemed a very friendly bunch down there, and very keen to push the S&D message. If you do live down this end of the line why not get involved? There is plenty of trackbed north and south, much already prepared ready for tracklaying! Sturminster Newton to Blandford is clear the whole way through!
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Anonymous said...

I went to Shillingstone this morning and was surprised to find the Morning Star's Cab completly painted, the group are doing a great job! Then I walked along the trailway, the trackbed was wide enougth to have both Trailway and Railway. Towards the end of the Trailway it is not so populated due to the dead end and another path branching off, its ussaly only the Railway Enthusiast who goes to the end. Some of the trackbed south of the Trailway is occupied by a shooting range. A problem, but surley over the next few years they will ban shooting birds and change to Clay Pigeons or something. Then they won't need to change feilds each time to allow more birds to come. I'm confident that it will not be that hard to relay track to Stourpaine and Dueweston.

Anonymous said...

apart from the 80,000 ton infill in rabbit cutting and missing 75 foot girder over the stour....

Sunshiner said...

Both minor 'problems'. I was stood on the infill the other day, secondhand bridges are easy to source and with a mugh publicity tie in can often be lowered into place for free.

Bigger problems are where there has been major building development on the route, but even these can be overcome fairly easily.

Bearing in mind the line has been closed for 43 years now it's amazing how much of the trackbed still remains - there is still ballast in places.

I suspect that the local authorities en route have been aware of the need to reinstate the route for years, which is why most encroachment happened many years ago, when railways were on the defensive! Very little has happened recently. People aren't stupid. They know that large places like Blandford, Norton Radstock, Shepton and Wells won't last long into the 21st century without modern transport.

Sunshiner said...

I have no idea what 'mugh' means on the above comment! Too much Swiss wine and bad news has affected my typewriting fingers!

I suspect I meant to write something like 'big' or 'major'!