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!

Monday, March 02, 2009

bournemouth to portishead - by train!

One of those no-brainer schemes that is almost on my doorstep - and seems to be taking aeons to take off - is the proposal to return passenger trains to the Portishead branch. It can take up to three hours to do the Portishead to Bristol trip by car, which is all of seven miles. Most of the line is in place - restoration to a new station in Portishead will really be no trouble at all. This line acquired a brand new station in 1954 - probably a sure sign back in those mad days that the line was doomed!

But this does say a lot about the mentality of far too many of us in the dying days of the car. Even now a simple restoration like this takes far far longer than it should. This line should be up and running NOW, carrying hordes of commuters into Bristol (and keeping them OFF the roads) and, in summer at least, balancing hordes of day trippers to the seaside at Portishead (taking even more cars off the roads ...)

But at least this line is now seeing regular freight flows - including the one in the bottom picture, serendipitously snapped last Saturday afternoon from the Cifton side of the Avon Gorge.

And what a line it is making a majestic passage along the gorge and under the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.

There is, of course, a supporters' society. Find out more here.

Hopefully in 20 or 30 years' time that trip from Bournemouth to Portishead (with a change of trains at Bristol TM) will be made possible! With perhaps an excursion south to Weston on a rebuilt WCPR ...
Posted by Picasa

No comments: