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!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

swiss interval

We're off to Switzerland tomorrow for the Nuits des Fees in Leysin. If you feel that being a railway enthusiast is a bit socially isolating you're blaming the wrong thing! I discovered Leysin in the early 70s, it was on the end of a metre gauge line from Aigle where, incredibly, three narrow gauge lines started their journeys up into the mountains, all using street running in Aigle. Not a lot has changed in the last three decades although the AOMC no longer uses it's street running section having built a new line alongside the main line. A few years later I spent nearly a year there, both summer and winter, discovered skiing and also managed to visit just about every line in Switzerland. I still have friends from my Leysin days.

What Switzerland taught me is that railways can easily become the prime form of transport if it has the proper support within the country. Since my first visits new lines have been built throughout Switzerland, many employing extremely long tunnels. Nearly all lines are electrified, using hydro electricity so are well up in the sustainability rankings.

Leysin, a town about a fifth the size of Midsomer Norton, has FOUR stations and trains at least every hour.

So I'll be away for five days. I may be able to post when I'm away but don't count on it. But don't worry - this blog has been running for over three years and a delve into the archives should be very rewarding. Otherwise why not visit one of the S&D websites (on the sidebar)?

Who knows, I may even come back more fired up than ever!
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