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, April 04, 2009

donate - steam centre

Yesterday was really Midsomer Norton's day, so I've waited until today before setting up new donation buttons for specific aspects of the New S&D.

We are now getting new members most days (2 yesterday) so know we are doing something right. Suggestions for development of the New S&D are coming from members as they join. Early on it was suggested that we acquire a site en-route to develop as a steam centre.

It's important to stress what we mean by this. It doesn't mean we're going into the heritage business! It means that we fully appreciate the importance of the S&D as a historic steam route, and that steam traction will play a definite role, and will be an irresistable draw, on the New S&D. We would love to see regular steam operation on part or all of the line, both using classic locomotives and new build wood burners. This would mean a mix of regular scheduled services and all-line specials. The Steam Centre would exist as partly a visitor attraction, with dining and sales facilities on site; and principally as a place where steam locomotive owners can securely base their locomotives on the S&D.

To start the ball rolling I have set up a Paypal button so you can donate specifically for this cause.

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