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, August 31, 2009

train at shepton mallet - 2009!

A used ticket for the train across the viaduct.

Tinkerbell and the train.

New S&D chair and Midsomer Norton shop regular Paul Mitchell cross the viaduct under steam power.

Well it WAS an experience! Steam over the big viaduct at Shepton Mallet in 2009. Okay, it was a miniature railway and the track was less than 200 metres long, and the whole thing was rather overwhelmed on a viaduct built for double track standard gauge, but this is early days yet. The fact that S&D infrastructure is beginning to see new uses is fantastic, and everyone who sees and uses this has the potential of joining the clamour for S&D revival.

Kilver Court is a fantastic destination both pre and post-New S&D. The gardens were built for the workers at Showerings' Brewery back in the 1860s and the viaduct sets them off fantastically. The new Kilver Court Gardens have made an excellent job of restoring the gardens and providing superb visitor attractions, such as the shop and cafe. John Baxter, Chair at Midsomer Norton, was manning a sales stand right in the entrance, so there was a good S&D presence there. Even as we drew into the car park we spotted Paul Mitchell from the Midsomer Norton station shop. Debs gave up her ticket so he could ride across the viaduct.

I'm hoping that this becomes a regular annual event and also that Kilver and MN realise they have a lot to gain by working closely together, Kilver providing an excellent interim destination for the railway currently bulding south from Midsomer Norton.
Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

Brilliant Steve
That’s the one viaduct I haven't been on yet!
I hope they do continue this event as I can then enjoy the views legitimately from this viaduct...?


Jamie said...

Great couple of pictures there, I even saw me, I was the one driving the egine when they had a ride!