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!

Sunday, February 08, 2009


(All photos 28.4.1977)

Wimborne was an early destination for S&D trains, before the direct line near Corfe Mullen was completed allowing S&D trains to run through to Bournemouth without reversing.

Wimborne station, once the busiest in Dorset, lost its passenger trains in 1964, and its freight in 1977. I'd motorbiked in the pouring rain all the way from Sussex to get these shots. In pre-digital days that meant just 6 photos! (Other three to follow).

No town the size of Wimborne should be without trains. It is madness. Just along the way Ringwood is also currently devoid of trains.

It makes sense for the New S&D to restore its link with Wimborne by reopening the line all the way through to Brockenhurst, restoring both Ringwood and Wimborne to the rail network. This would give S&D trains to the south the choice of Bournemouth or Southampton as destinations. There would also be a good deal of locally generated passsenger and freight traffic in the Blandford/Bournemouth/Ringwood axis.

The New S&D will not stop at just restoring the former S&D but will also look to building new links (mainly on old trackbeds) to Bristol (via Pensford) and Brockenhurst (via Ringwood). This would give our services logical destinations and a multitude of links to the existing network.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some of my relitives used to live in Ringwood, I reamember walking up a trailway along the old line before descovering once platform of an closed station, Ashley Heath Halt. I also franticley searched on google for any of the railway's related sights all about it. All of this was before I found out about the SDJR. It would be great if the SDJR restored it as well imagine what impact it would have on the residents trains to Bath, Bournmouth, Highbridge, Blandford! Its amazing how much difference a railway could make.