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, March 15, 2009

accentuate the positive

(Photos top Pete Russell, 2-4 Mick Knox)

From a regular correspondent -

Here's one for you to think about; When ever a railway should be re-opened everyone always thinks about the negatives - ie bridges out, cuttings filled in etc, whereas we should be thinking such-and-such per cent is there. Is it possible for some bright sparks to work out just how much of the S&D (or any other line crying out for re-opening) to say 'Well, 94.58% of the line is in extant' (or whatever % that it is - as it looks much more positive!! ) Irrespective of what is not available, work on distance available for virtually re-laying! Catch my drift?

My reply -

This is exactly how I look at it. There have been a few encroachments, but bearing in mind the line has been closed for 43 years and, until recently, few people seriously thought it would be needed again, I reckon we've got a lot to work on. Certainly from my trip in February it's amazing how much is still in place. Even in Sturminster Newton, with the station gone and car parks and buildings all around, there is nothing actually blocking the route. The line is protected from Bath to Midsomer Norton for transport use, the section from MN to Shepton is almost totally clear (being on high Mendip farmland). South of Shepton Prestleigh viaduct has gone, and I think there's some housing development in Evercreech but, again, the vast majority is clear, much of the southern section is not only clear but in increasing numbers of places is becoming a trailway, which is just one letter away from being a railway!

Even without Peak Oil and Climate Change there is now a good case for bringing back the S&D, but with them it is essential.
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Anonymous said...

you could you the path measure tool in google earth to work out what % is left, providing you have some knowledge of the route first and can "read" aerial info

GMasterH said...

I'm tingling with the prospects of seeing trains bursting out of Chilcompton tunnel into the new cutting as they speed onwards to Bath...