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, July 19, 2009

working together

It's really important that the four groups currently rebuilding the S&D and/or preserving its heritage should commit to working more and more closely together over the coming years. This has always been an important aim of the New S&D. It's very sad that in the past certain S&D groups barely acknowledged that each other existed!

I personally don't understand this attitude at all. We are all surely working towards the same thing?

I feel there are some obvious areas where we should already be working together. Joint membership would surely be a good idea, allowing S&D supporters to pay one membership fee that would allow them to work at ALL S&D sites. Joint events would allow us to throw all our resources together. There are some pieces of equipment and people with specific skills that could be applied to all the sections of line as they are restored. Also it would be great if all the existing groups could do an audit of stock and create one big ecommerce site to sell this on more efficiently.

What are your views on this because I've been hearing - at a 'high' level - that this is not a popular idea. The New S&D is committed to this but if you are a member of the other groups what is the general feeling in your neck of the woods? Please post comments to the comments section! And is the New S&D right in backing this, or should we perhaps think of ourselves only?
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jeff harris said...

i've thought for many years, before the creation of the nsd that a united front would be better, but isnt a lot of it the politics?

Sunshiner said...

Surely it's in our hands?

The old lot seem to love all this ego and politics stuff but surely we all want the same thing ie restoraton of as much of the S&D as possible?

There's no need for 4 (5 if you include Gartell) groups to represent the S&D. The Washford stuff ashould all be moved back to the real S&D ASAP, the restoration projects should be able to share engineering equipment and skilled workers, and potential members should have the benefit of, say, the S&D Telegraph that should become the magazine for the whole line and all the groups. One killer website, one brilliant ecommerce site and stands throughout the country getting new members and spreading the word.

Let's all forget the previous generation's politics and start building an S&D for the 21st century!

Anonymous said...

We should all work together but keeping our own identities. The New S&D should pull all the groups together put each station has been saved in its own way.

Jeff Harris said...

it would be nice to see a united S+D trust and hopefully it can be worked towards

Steve said...

Well over Gartell's this weekend their's 3 of the groups present on orignal formation for are steam weekend. There's ourself as hosts to all things old & mechanical along with a bar, demostrations, models, etc, Washford's bringing their stand & display, Shillingstone are bring a stand & the S&D reuion dinner is on the Sunday. Seems a good idea to have S&D related people/kit present on a working part of the S&D. Steve

Jeff Harris said...

its nice to see that, but also a shame to see that no one from msn will be there, im guessing this is to do with the rotation that is now on for washfords reunion dinners

as i said, hopefully a union of some form could be made between all fronts, and then the working together, and the allowing of the spreading of funds for all projects, as and when required, and streamlining of the management structure, and also, it would allow for a greater advertising presence from all fronts as we would already have 4 (five if you include the gartell) sites at which to put up posters free of charge, although it begs the question of how would the wsr feel if we did so at washford

Richard said...

The fact is that most of the cash for the current preservation/restoration efforts come from S&D nuts such as ourselves. It is a well-known and effective way of maximising cash take from the likes of us, to have as many different groups as possible demanding subs and running appeals. For example, I am a member of five groups dedicated to the Festiniog/Welsh Highland Railways. So, I don't see lots of S&D groups as a weakness, quite the opposite, it shows a thriving interest in the S&D. What is not acceptable is antagonism or lack of cooperation between groups.


Steve said...

Hate to say it Jeff. I have tried for the last to shows ( this year and last ) to get everyone envolved with the s & d over on the steam weekend. MSN have advertised the event but have never even replied to emails sent to the enquiry email. Must have been at least 6 times for this year alone i've tried. Too late now but maybe next year

Anonymous said...

I wonder what if any thought has been given by the S&D at Washford to relocating to a genuine S&D site at some point in the future? While they are very well esconced at Washford they are a minor attraction on a large site. As MSN becomes more established and develops a critical mass as a tourist attraction and running railway, they may find it tempting to relocate to a site where their exhibits will be a key attraction.
Whilst I have happy memories of working at Washford, it's something I wouldn't mind seeing.


Sunshiner said...

I have to say that I personally would like to see Washford move lock, stock and barrel to the S&D. But I also feel the costs of such a move should be met equally by ALL the S&D groups (includings ours!)

On the other hand having a site off-line may well introduce new people to the S&D. But Washford is out in the sticks - if they were based at Minehead or, better still, Bishops Lydeard they would have a much larger number of visitors.

I do feel that Washford will move to the S&D within ten years, but a lot depends on the progress made by MN, Shillingstone and ourselves in rebuilding parts of the route. We really will all have to work together to make this happen!

David B said...

I think it would be a good idea for the S&D at Washford to move to Midsomer Norton... but not until they have double-track running all the way to a station at Chilcompton, and have engine sheds built on the Summervale sidings. MSN is also missing a water tower with which to fill steam-engine tanks. That lot is at least 5-10 years away given current progress.

Anonymous said...

5-10 years, thats being a little optimistic! look how long its taking the bluebell to empty imberhorne tip!

there is no room at msn for washfords' stock. shillingstone would be better