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, July 27, 2009

you couldn't make it up!

I know this looks like some sterile Photoshop fantasy, but this madness is actually happening in Cambridgeshire. This is the guided busway that some loonies have been building - on a railway route would you believe - between Cambridge and St Ives.

In the words of one of our members - I have been meaning to go over and photo some of this meaningless busway before it opens, just as a warning to other railway re-opening schemes just what can be imposed by government if you're not careful.

I doubt very much that this would ever happen through the Mendip Hills, but it just goes to show that rather than accept the fact that they were wrong to close these lines in the first place, they will re-open them as busways instead, as it can mean less loss of face.

They won't last into the future, as its really a poor mans' railway, albeit at twice the cost!

I have to pinch myself looking at these pictures. What the hell are they thinking of??

This line has a vigorous campaigning group, seeking to have the (previously intact) route restored, electrified and ready to carry hundreds of thousands of former car users into Cambridge and on to the network. Instead they get this total joke, an oil-using monstrosity that peters out on the outskirts of Cambridge to just push more (inevitably almost empty) dirty buses to fight their way through the congestion to the sanity of Cambridge railway station - at more than twice the price of a restored railway (three times the cost of a modern tramway or light railway)!

So what poor St Ives gets is a time-limited joke, more oil guzzling buses that aren't even flexible. No solution to future freight transport. A one-off system with no ability to expand, a soon to be overgrown 'showpiece' that is unlikely to tempt anyone out of their cars once the novelty's worn off. It's already looking tatty, even before it's opened. It'll be no use in the snow. All it will do is encourage the citizens of St Ives to call for the restoration of their railway ASAP. What a total joke.

Mick Knox cleverly likens it to the Haytor Granite Tramway (below).

That also was a one off, and you can still see its remains high up on Dartmoor. This will be the perfect monument to this hopelessly failed government - an overgrown anachronism. A badly thought out 'solution' to the end of cheap oil, that appeals to no-one, doesn't do the job and was a total waste of money. All it tells us is that they have no intention of allowing us to own private transport in the future.

This caused a major upset in Cambridgeshire. 3800 people voted for the railway, 4 for the busway. 4!! And I doubt even they will use it ....
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