Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, October 25, 2009
return to Evercreech Junction
My last trip to Evercreech Junction was in 1980.
It was good to see that the main station building is still standing, ready for purchase by the New S&D in the future.
This iconic location - and not just from an S&D perspective - is a sad sight today. It should be bustling with life with trains coming every half hour or so. There should be shops and restaurants serving the thousands of visitors coming by train. There should be trains running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It underlines the utter desolation of certain places when they lose their trains and how desperately they need them back.
In fact the whole journey today from Bristol to the Gartell Railway underlined this economic apartheid. Binegar, Shepton Mallet, Evercreech Junction - all seemed dull and lifeless with few if any amenities. Conversely the two places we did pass through that are still served by trains - Castle Cary and Templecombe - seemed lively and alive. The car park at Castle Cary was packed on a Sunday.
This contrast will become sharper and sharper as the Energy Crunch bites harder. Those people clever (or lucky) enough to live on a railway will be able to continue to go about their daily lives. Their property prices will rise (or fall less) than those who suddenly find themselves out in the sticks, with just crumbling roads and hideously expensive cars and buses to rely on. There will be a shift away from these blighted areas to those that will have a bright future. Even today properties close to railways (or more precisely stations) are worth a good deal more than those that are bereft of modern transport.
This perception will ensure that as time goes by more and more people in these areas (which, currently, sadly includes most of the S&D route) will absolutely insist that their railways are returned. But they can't all be returned at once, there will be a distinct pecking order. We have every intention that the S&D will be up there with the usual suspects - Exeter-Okehampton-Plymouth, Oxford-Cambridge, Waverley route, Great Central, Skipton-Colne, Lewes-Uckfield etc etc.