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!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

excellent news - Tavistock returns!!

(All Okehampton 4.12.1984)

West Devon Borough Council, to their credit, last night voted through a plan to build 750 new homes in Tavistock, by a company called Kilbride, who will also rebuild the 6 miles of railway to Bere Alston and thus a direct link to Plymouth for the first time since 1968. [Google This is Plymouth, Western Morning News for further details]. Planning, consultation etc, is going to take another year, but it definitely looks good. I know there was a scheme to build a lot of houses on railway land at Radstock- is that signed sealed and delivered, or would it be possible to get a company like Kilbride to come up with a similar model? Or indeed, in future, maybe parts of the S and D could be rebuilt in this way. Just food for thought really, wonder what your opinions are.

From a message board post.

This is fantastic news and indeed will serve as a model for future large housing developments. A point often made to me is that there is little point building new homes if there are no modern transport links in place. In the 70s and 80s roads would have provided these links, but that's history now, or very soon will be. This should certainly apply to Radstock and surely the Midsomer Norton Trust and North Somerset Railway are making this point to everyone who will listen?

Hopefully restoration of the line to Tavistock will reinvigorate calls for the whole route to Meldon and Okehampton be restored, giving an alternative route to the sea level rise threatened Dawlish route. At the very least it will take some of the capacity restraints off the existing line as traffic continues to climb. Really the whole Dartmoor route needs to be reopened and double tracked as quickly as possible.

If this government had any balls it would make putting in modern transport links compulsory for all major new housing, retail or industrial developments. This could be heavy rail (restored or new build), light rail, ultra light rail or tramway. Soon there will be no other option in any case. Better still if rather than the new line be appropriated by a large concern they are set up as locally owned and run co-operatives, ensuring that the route is geared towards local needs and is maintained and run to the highest standards. We are getting there slowly ...
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's great news ... my in laws live in Bere Ferrers, and getting a late train on a Friday night via Plymouth is great. Particularly the walk from Bere Ferrers station is past the Old Plough.