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!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

majorca 1

Last Tuesday we took our first trip on the Majorca Railways system. This was once a network of lines which reached Sa Pobla, Arta, Felanixt, Santanay and Palma port. By 1981 all but the Palma to Inca section remained and even this was in danger, despite being double track.

However the Majorcan government were very far sighted and decided that rather than abandon the railways they were going to develop them. The line was regauged from 3 feet to metre and the closed sections between Inca and Sa Pobla and Manacor have been reopened, in 2001 and 2004 respectively. There is now considerable pressure to reopen the Arta line and also to extend the Sa Pobla line to the coast at Alcudia. I fully expect this to happen sooner rather than later!

Palma main station is now underground and is very impressive. It also serves the very new (2007) metro line to the University. In fact for the first couple of miles it's a real underground railway with three stations, although served partly by diesel trains.

In rebuilding the route much of the original charm of the narrow gauge has been lost, but heavy passenger usage suggests that this is a good thing! Not many tourists find the railway, so there's plenty of potential. I couldn't see any freight facilities en route, but there are new doubling works north of Inca to where the Sa Pobla and Manacor lines diverge.

Ideally these lines should be electrified over the next 10 years or so, as it seems daft to pour in loads of capital supporting a doomed form of transport (diesel).

All in all the Majorca situation where a rail network almost vanished entirely but now is looking at expanding all over (there is also serious talk of another line from Manacor to Palma via the Airport, a tram from Palma to the airport, a tram from the airport to Arenal and a light railway from Port Pollença to Ca'an Picafort connecting to the new Alcudia line) shows what can happen when people look ahead rather than backwards!

Photos 1) DMU at Palma.
2) Train at Manacor.
3) The protected route towards Arta in Manacor.
4) Steam train in very modern surroundings! (Palma)
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1 comment:

Red de movilidad de Llevant de Mallorca said...

We think that the train Manacor - Artà is a very bad project. You can check our opinions here http://alternativetothetrain.blogspot.com/