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!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

two miles apart

Chilcompton station 17 February 2009. Buried deep in a small wood the platform of Chilcompton station can be seen on the right hand side. (photo courtesy Mick Knox).

Just two miles to the north Midsomer Norton South is full of life and colour and contributing to the local economy as well as providing the first green shoots of a sustainable transport system that will see us through the 21st century.

Chilcompton need not worry, its time is coming too. As the New S&D expands, and as the Midsomer Norton group heads south the only question is who will reach Chilcompton first to start the restoration!
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GMasterH said...

It will be a formidable challenge, but one that will have an everlasting lagacy, the first two stations of the old S&D to be re-united on the NEW S&D! Perhaps as well as sticking to the old S&D route new branches should be built on the NEW S&D to places like Cheddar where a more economicly sustainable transport link is needed rather than hundreds of coaches bringing tourists in and spoiling the valley and clogging the roads.

Anonymous said...

Where do we go after Midford? Should we purchase random S&D sights as they become availible or should we make a railway around Midford? It would attract tourists and with that, money which will be used on getting yet more trackbed. However while we are restoring midford and laying track other S&D trackbed would be developed on, unless we made it clear that the S&D needed to run over it. What should we do?

Sunshiner said...

The first thing we need to do is pull in hundreds or even thousands of members. These should come from both the local areas and the wider rail community. Once we've reached a certain size we will be taken seriously and can then ensure that not a further inch of the S&D is developed in any way which will make it expensive to reinstate the route. It's highly likely that before then the government of the day will bring in laws to do this anyway as the case for rail grows stronger every day. But to be safe we should also pursue this ourselves!

As for the first bits of S&D rebuilding I've always felt these should be Blandford-Bournemouth and Midsomer Norton to Bath, as these are the stretches where the best traffic - at first - will be generated. Wells and Glastonbury also have a very strong case, as does Shepton Mallet.

Midford will hopefully be restored at first as a visitor centre and office for the New S&D with a shop and - possibly - light refreshment facilities. There'll be no intention of laying track at first, but it will be made clear that eventually Midford will once again be a working station.

Let's do this first - get membership in the 100s and 1000s, and get Midford up and running.

GMasterH said...

It is logical to use Midford as a springboard into Bath, the ultimate and possbily the toughest goal.