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, May 22, 2009

not in my back yard!

(Thanks to Mick Knox for this and picture).

An example of when the state run railway wants to reopen a line. Miles of palisade fencing that the average trespasser would take seconds to get over so is a complete waste of time & money. This is in Bletchley on the route to Oxford. This is not what the people of Somerset or Dorset would want on their re-opened line!

It is essential that as the S&D gets rebuilt it is seen as PART of the landscape, not a blot on it. Network Rail lives in a dystopian past. The fencing probably exists because there's money in it for someone. Most continental and US railways don't use fencing at all. Why should they? Our roads aren't fenced and are infinitely more dangerous as it's impossible to forecast where a vehicle may go. A kid from Hartcliffe was killed a week or so ago when a car, driven by another kid, mounted the pavement and hit him. No fences there. Yet the roads have a constant procession of vehicles, driven by amateurs, with barely a break in between. Even the busiest railways rarely have more than one train every two minutes.

This is the future. The image of railways in their prime is an image of the railway of the future. We need to fight to ensure that our railways are human scale, that they serve local needs first, that stations are manned and a delight to wait in, that refreshments are available everywhere and the whole atmosphere is one where people want to be, not flee.

The New S&D is all about this, just as the old S&D was!

PS Thanks for all the pledges and cash that came in to the Midford Appeal after Jeff Harris's very odd message board post!

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