Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I took a look at a forum yesterday as somebody had arrived at this site from it. There was a thread on the S&D, which was good to see. But what total rubbish had been posted. Now, I know that many people in the UK are educationally challenged, but this was beyond learning difficulties!
Some started 'I want to see the S&D restored' but then go on to say how it will never happen - but don't elaborate on why. Others say Peak Oil will mean we all stay at home and never travel. Not me! Others whine 'where is the money coming from?' I have no intention of tackling these buffoons on their little forum - all I can say to them is 'get a life' and 'wake up, it's the twenty first century, not 1971!'
But the real gem was some tosser saying 'why would the S&D need to be restored? It serves no centres of population and those it does serve doesn't deserve trains'! This arrogance makes me sick. Blandford has a population of 10,000, Norton-Radstock 21,000+. Far smaller places are served by trains. England's smallest city (Wells) is still rail-less. And what does that have to do with anything anyway? Railways aren't primarily there to serve the places in between, that's a bonus. It's the places they link that's important. The S&D linked and will link again Britain's only World Heritage city and it's finest seaside resort. At it's southern end (Blandford to Bournemouth) it is a missing commuter link serving a huge suburban area (Broadstone/Ringwood/Wimborne/Blandford). With its new links to Brockenhurst and Bristol it will tap much cross-country traffic. But, most importantly, it wll provide an invaluable freight link from the Midlands and North to the south. Via Templecombe freight can access the whole west country from the north, or London from the south west. Our railways are already almost at full capacity - how the hell are we going to tackle climate change and peak oil without the new railways actually being in place? The S&D will be a small rebuild in a huge rebuilding effort.
How will it be financed? Well the New S&D doesn't need to raise millions, only thousands to give us the resources to lobby and buy land. The millions will come later but if we haven't spent years pushing ourselves to the front of the queue who knows when we'll actually get the funds to rebuild? It could be fifty years!
And let's look at a recent example of money generation. This government has just 'created' 75 billion quid just to keep the economy going. The money is being used to buy goverment bonds, a tangible asset.
In a few years when it's clear that roads really will begin to fade and die, I suspect whichever government is in power will happily create money to buy bonds in new build railways, in fact they will be pushing like mad for it to happen. Again, the S&D will need to be at the head of that queue. We're not asking for much, just for our railway back. And it saddens me that the only people that seem to not want that to happen is a small group of 70s throwbacks who think that railway routes should be trackless, stations abandoned and our creaking road system clogged up with cars, trucks, tractors, caravans and, most hilarious of all, buses ...