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, September 21, 2009

history in the making

The meeting gets under way.

Carefully studying the detail of the constitution, now adopted.

The venue - a real treat and only feet from the original line!

Just up the road - the route northwards towards Shillingstone and Templecombe, just waiting for the track to be relaid!

The New S&D passed a very special milestone on Saturday at the meeting at Blandford. We adopted a constitution and also put in process our plans to become the premier S&D organisation within a year or so with responsibility for restoring the whole route. The meeting was very well attended with 11 present. The venue was excellent with very strong links to the original S&D, and we were given a function room free of charge.

Within a couple of months we will become a very familiar presence up and down the route with our 2 display/information/sales stands. We'll principally be attending local shows and events on the route, with a northern and southern team, the border being Templecombe. So if you want a railway presence at your town/village event from November onwards please contact us.

About 70% of our current membership live in the Blandford/Poole/Bournemouth triangle and it's becoming clear that much of our early efforts will be in pushing for early restoration of Blandford to Poole, probably using third rail electric. This doesn't prejudice purchasing Midford on the northern section which will be a totally different project.

The demand and support is out there and we are pushing against an open door. It is scandalous that in almost the second decade of the 21st century a large and busy town like Blandford is STILL off the network. This is ridiculous and we aim to correct this idiocy as quickly as possible! The whole Blandford/Ringwood/Wimborne area is crying out for modern transport and at last there is a serious organisation on the scene eager to make things happen as quickly as possible. It seems amazing that this didn't happen years ago ...

From now on after every meeting there will be a newsletter outlining the various issues brought up at the meeting which will be sent, as hard copy, to all members. Hopefully this will quickly develop into a glossy magazine, further raising our profile.

So if you've held off joining us up to now please consider joining or giving a donation. Things are getting more exciting every day!
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