Welcome to the 'New 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.