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, October 25, 2009

gartell extension

Two above - track already laid on the gartell extension towards Templecombe. The existing route joins this line in the far distance.

Looking northwards on what will become the Templecombe extension. Judging by the inscription on the crane this land is already owned by the Gartell engineering business!

The sign that greets passengers who alight at Park Lane. It would be nice if, as a holding operation, the line WAS walkable all the way to Bournemouth West! Eventually of course this section will be relaid as a standard gauge main line. The New S&D will hopefully work with the Gartell to develop this unique narrow gauge (and eventually dual gauge) section of the S&D, the Gartell Railway becoming a valuable extra attraction on the route.

I do feel that narrow gauge railways will become very commonplace throughout the UK, for both industrial and passenger use, filling a vital gap in connecting industry and people to the main standard gauge network as the road network vanishes.
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Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be better to say than to have dual gauge, To run the Gartell by the side of the New S&D? for a start the gartell uses small lighter Rail? It is great The New S&D has links at the Gartell, but isn't the trackbed also owned by the Gartell family so to make friends wouldn't it be good to work with them.

Sunshiner said...

That's what I meant - to run the narrow gauge alongside the standard. There is room for two lines on this stretch even though it was a single track section of the route. Even if (when?) the line is double tracked there is still room for earthworks for double SG and a NG line alongside. The Gartell Railway service is so intensive (with up to 4 trains in each direction per hour) that this is the only way it could work. I thought the post stressed how important it is to work with existing groups on the route - that's certainly our intention and not just with rail groups of course. We don't want any angst at any point with any landowner because we are of course doing this for everyone!

Freddie said...

Wasn't there a plan about 100 years ago to build a new line from the west end of Templecombe Station to Henstridge, thus eliminating the reversal? (Someone with more S&D knowledge can no doubt give more accurate details)
This could be worth looking at again to make the new S&D more efficient and as a by-product would mean you wouldn't need the bit of line Gartell uses. A win-win option?