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!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

final destination

Sadly these are the last instalments from my February trip with Mick Knox along the southern section of the line.

With the light fading we wanted to get these last shots of the bridge over the Stour just to the north of Sturminster Newton. It wasn't easy to find the bridge, but after a few false starts and a very long trip along a narrow road, we finally spotted it across the fields. The ground was still soaked from the previous week's snowfall and it was nearly half a mile from the road, but we finally managed to get some atmospheric shots of this classic S&D bridge. We met another S&D fan near the bridge, plus two women who asked us, when they spotted Mick's Network Rail jacket, whether we were there to assess it for demolition. Quite the opposite, we said!

There is so much of the S&D route remaining and a really strong desire from people living along the line to see it back we really are pushing against an open door.

When I get back from Innsbruck hopefully the bank account details will have arrived and I can set up Paypal, both for membership and for products in the New S&D shop. We owe it to all the people living along the line, to all railway enthusiasts and to all lovers of the English countryside to get this line back as quickly as possible - we've all waited far too long for this to happen ...
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