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, May 06, 2009


If there was any doubt in my mind that we should go for the purchase of Midford then that was soon allayed by the many messages of support - and the picture above.

What a gem this will be!

Yes, I know there's currently a cycleway on the trackbed, and that there was a previous preservation attempt here, but the world has changed enormously in the last ten years. We are not talking about shuttling a DMU up and down from nowhere to nowhere. We're talking about a stategic and low cost piece in a jigsaw, set in an area of amazing natural beauty with a huge catchment area of visitors within a ten mile radius. There won't be track of course (at first) but restoration of the buildings would be a great way of showing the world what we're about, and would allow us a focal point for fundraising etc.

Remember that the New S&D will be a genuine working railway, but this doesn't mean we ignore the past or particularly the history of the Old S&D. I personally believe that neat, manned stations are a huge improvement on unmanned bus shelters, and will encourage even more people to travel.

Pledges of monetary support (non-binding) are welcome at this stage. It's been suggested we issue shares on this particular site. Everyone's views are welcome. Please either post to comments, the message board or email me.
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Anonymous said...

Yes, Midford is a good option.

Anonymous said...

The share option for Midford is a fantastic idea, count me in.

GMasterH said...

Washford already have a signal box.

Anonymous said...

washford box is a little cabin on the platform with a small representation of the box, nothing like the original. get your facts right!