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, October 07, 2009

majorca : 2

The above four views are of the Soller Railway in Majorca. This 3 feet gauge electric line runs from a separate station in Palma to the inland town of Soller. Opened on the day the Titanic sank, it originally served to bring products (mainly oranges and lemons) from Soller to the coast. It still uses the original wooden locos and rolling stock and carries over a million passengers a year. The locos look very Swiss, as does the street and roadside running section in Palma.

But still this line disturbs me. It should be offering a freight service and a few proper passenger turns, using modern stock. The timetable is bizarre. There are a few trains in the morning from Palma to Soller but up at Soller there is a gap of four hours (between 2.30 and 6.30pm) with no trains. This has the effect of stranding passengers in Soller (or Port de Soller if you take the tram). Now Soller's a lovely place, but four hours is too much.

I get the impression there's a sort of conspiracy between the railway and the canny residents of Soller - the railway abandons passengers to the shops and restaurants of Soller and Port de Soller. It's a bit like being cattle as the crowds, even out of season, are immense. Great for the railway, but I don't like being told I can't go on the platform, and the barriers don't seem right on a line of this nature.

But at least the line's still there, and as time goes by the management might 'get' customer care!
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