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!

Friday, October 23, 2009

the new elite ...

I got one of those absolute gifts in the comments box today which I just felt I had to share!

[T]here are powerful anti rail figures in this country with money finding loop holes to continually build on trackbed and encourage network rail to sell off everything and contine to beat the modern railway back to the core. [T]he relentless lifting of sidings and rationalisation will continue. The goverment wants the 20 billion subsidy reduced, and therefore network rail do not have money to do anything except essential renewals and capacity enhancements on the very core uk routes. overcrowding and fares will continue to rise and freight and sidings will be a distant memory in 15 years time. the railways are screwed and we all know it, thats why we live in our little nostalgic bubbles trying to enjoy the past we miss, during our lives.

I absolutely LOVE the way he or she is trying to tar us - of all people - with a big nostalgia brush! D'you suppose they even read this site? I suspect the character is speaking solely for themselves, and considering the post to which the comment was added has yet to experience their 'peak oil moment'. I love the little paranoid hint of conspiracy theory too!

To recap - this rubbish is pure 1970s left wing defeatism. It says nothing of today, let alone the future, or even of the recent past.

The owners and operators of railways into the 21st century will be the most important people in the economic firmament. They will be part of a new business elite that will help the world pass through the end of oil into a sustainable future. The nostalgists dread the fact this is happening, whether from a political, personal or business angle. They are swimming against the rip tide of history and, sadly, I think they know it. They are attempting to set an agenda that is shattering into a million discrete pieces.

We've done all this. We've gone through the 'no hope' stage, almost willed the end of rail, just to taste the bitter sweet honey of decay. There was a beautiful grandeur in the empty stations and trackbeds of the 60s and 70s. But things have changed faster than any of us dared hope. Roadbuilding has ground to a stop, air travel is in decline, the price of oil is starting to rocket again and nothing really is being done to address this apart from the building of thousands of miles of high speed railways and the reopening of lines and stations at a stately pace. This is our clue. Look around you. Look at where every supermarket is being built or has been built in the last twenty years - next to open or disused railways. Look at the Channel Tunnel - built as a RAIL tunnel. This hardly suggests the supremacy or even equality of roads, and these were decisions made years ago. Look at the lack of any replacement for Concorde - hardly a ringing endorsement of air travel.

Perhaps, to be generous, our troll poster mistook our reporting of events on the heritage sections of the S&D as some sort of nostalgic diversion. They are nothing of the sort. But having to post every day on here I feel that reports on events up and down the route - even if of a 'heritage' nature - will be of interest to most of our readers, even those of you whose prime interest is in modern and future transport systems.

And does he or she think we are stupid nostalgists for wishing to maximise the revenue and appeal of the New S&D? Of course we want to encourage steam visitors to the route - they will increase income and interest in our revived line. And steam itself - albeit in a modern and sustainable form - has an incredibly bright future. Nothing nostalgic in that, any more than there is nostalgia in a nuclear power station when uranium heats the water that creates the steam that drives the turbines that generate the power.

Nostalgia - the very word makes me reach for my revolver!
Posted by Picasa


GMasterH said...

The government are fools. This has been going on since Beeching, but it is clear his followers are not gone yet. Until they are we don't have a hope in hell!

Sunshiner said...

They are dropping one by one. That was my point. The old way of thinking, which relied on regular supplies of cheap oil, is no longer valid. people need to see this, or they will never understand what we're about. I feel sorry for them. They are going to have to do an awful lot of adjustment awfully quickly!