Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Monday, March 16, 2009
Well, the money has now started coming in to the New S&D in earnest, so I spent some time today thinking about how it should be used. Initially I'd like to use it to set up retail facilities so that we can double or treble it over a year or two. I did this at Midsomer Norton, turning three boxes of videos (!) and a box of books into a fully stocked shop, a big mail order trade, an internet shop and stock for shows etc in a year or so, pushing up profits into the tens of thousands over a few years. Then hopefully in a year or so we can start buying up strategic pieces of land to ensure that, when the trains begin to return, at least part of the route will revert to its real use quickly, painlessly and cheaply!
I also think that, certainly for the first few years, we build a team to 'do' all the shows along the route, bringing in more cash and, more importantly, new members.
I also think we need to make it clear where the heritage aspect of the S&D will fit in. I think some people are worried that with the clear aim of introducing real passenger and freight trains there will be little or no room for steam. This of course is nonsense! The S&D was the classic UK steam route, and steam will bring even more traffic for the route. I would love to see a steam centre at, say, Templecombe or Evercreech Junction, will full facilities, locos on site and regular long steam trains most weekends, fully using the route on the paths not taken by passenger and freight. And we should never forget the part that will be played by the expanding heritage sections of the route based at Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone (and Gartell of course!)
Anyone who wants to see the S&D return to fulfil its destiny of linking Bath to Bournemouth should join up, and hopefully offer to help, as soon as possible! The more members we have the more of a voice we will have in the busy years to come.