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!

Friday, April 03, 2009

the chilcompton extension

1.4.09 (Jeremy Woodrow)

2.4.09 (Jeremy Woodrow)

Two superb shots courtesy of Jeremy showing the amazing progress on the extension - and this was before today's good news! There have been contractors in all week preparing the trackbed.

It's fantastic seeing scenes like this 43 years after the idiotic closure of the railway. It shows just what can be done when you want something hard enough. I can't wait to get down there and see this in the flesh!

Below are two shots from the same area taken by me on 29 August 2006. Whilst this was a lovely quiet country walk I'm sure that walkers can find even better walks in the area, whereas the railway can only really go along this route. Let's hope the locals who did object to the line begin to see its value over the coming years, and perhaps even get involved with restoring more and more of the UK's favourite railway.

To accomodate the walkers, the Trust are putting in an alternative path, just outside the boundary fence (on the valley side of the line). The new path is clayey at present, having only been scraped today, but scalpings and a proper post and wire fence will be installed over the spring/summer (as fast as they can do it). This alternative path therefore by-passes the trackbed, as far as the end of the ‘phase 1’ works. This path will then be extended as they move on to the next phase(s), as they want to keep the walkers ‘on board’.

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Anonymous said...

Fantastic news!

Just out of curiosity how much land is included in phase one of the extension?

Anonymous said...

1067 feet, doubling the running length

Anonymous said...

The newly cleared 1000 feet is straight as a die and looks AMAZING. some more building up of the up formation is required in a few places where the 27 foot double bed still slopes towards the valley and should be spirit level before any concretes are laid.