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!

Monday, June 22, 2009

twister over London

We were in London over the weekend celebrating our first wedding anniversary. We were offered an upgrade when we arrived at the hotel to a £1000 a night penthouse suite for £80 extra a night, so took it happily! The suite was amazing and one of the best features was a balcony overlooking the approaches to Waterloo station.

When I was a kid in the early 60s I used to visit my Nan up in Battersea. Her flat overlooked railway lines, but unfortunately all that ever used them were boring Southern green emus. But over in the distance you could see plumes of smoke - loads of them. For some reason my dad thought they were from Paddington but of course a little research revealed they were coming from Waterloo. Obviously they were coming from the Southampton and Bournemouth trains (and, right at the start, Salisbury and Plymouth trains). Steam lasted at Waterloo until 9 July 1967 on Britain's last steam main line.

Did I ever talk Dad in taking me to see them close up? No, I tried ...

But I'm sure it's those distant plumes that first got me interested in railways.

But on Sunday morning, 42 years on from the end of steam at Waterloo I finally DID get to see a steam train (fairly close up). After nearly two days of just 4 sorts of emus, on Sunday morning, just as we were about to leave there it was! And, amazingly, it was Tornado, the first main line steam loco to be built in the UK since 1960 (the S&D's Evening Star!)

It brought a lot of things together. Close up steam at Waterloo at last, a brand new steam locomotive which will, with a bit of tweaking to let them burn wood, doubtless be the first of 1000s in the 21st century, and even the 'old' Eurostar terminal at Waterloo in the foreground, showing that railways are always evolving!

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GMasterH said...

TORNADO would look nice on a stint over the Mendips once the S&D is re-built to a standard where such a large locomotive will be required.

Ian said...

I bet your wife was delighted that in your 1,000 pound a night suite on your romantic weekend away you were out on the balcony taking photographs of trains!