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 04, 2009

sturminster developments





(Bottom pic Jeffery Grayer 1967)

Fantastic news out of Sturminster, easily countering the dinosaur decision earlier this year to put houses on the trackbed! A new S&D group, STURMINSTER RAIL GROUP, has just launched. This is a totally independent group from the existing S&D groups on the route and they will be concentrating on the Sturminster Newton to Henstridge section with the intention of acquiring trackbed etc for the eventual restoration of trains to this part of the S&D. The New S&D would certainly commit to then restoring beyond Henstridge to Templecombe to link this section to the network, probably more quickly than if a group hadn't sprung up locally.

We would love to see similar groups appear all along the route, obviously working closely together but independently. It is precisely this local involvement and knowledge that will be the key to getting our job done as quickly as possible.

To contact this new group please email bournemouthwest@aol.com

Their opening statement goes as follows -

Hi! Just a quick mail to let you know that [we] are forming a group (Sturminster Rail group) which is primarily concerned with obtaining track bed of the former S&D in the Sturminster to Henstridge area.

Most of this track bed lies in open countryside, and the reaction of land owners will be, hopefully, positive for either selling/leasing the actual track bed across their land for rail usage again. There are no major problems on this particular route with the exception of Sturminster Newton town itself (where the deep cutting and road over bridges were filled in and destroyed respectively).

I hope we can all 'pull' together to realise this very important route is re instated wherever possible, and we, as a group will do all we can to ensure this outcome.
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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

How strange, the former goods shed has actually become smaller than in the original photo..?

Knoxy

Anonymous said...

thats because its the building behind the goods shed. get your facts right!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you might find my facts are right!
The roof line of the goods shed is the same in both pictures, yet the wall nearest the running line has moved, and the roof overhangs more?
I'm not referring to the office building (white in both pictures) nor to the modern building in front of the former goods shed.
Take a closer look before you start advising who has their facts right, and maybe get out a bit more.
I can't believe i have to explain myself....


Knoxy

Anonymous said...

I do know what i'm talking about. the railway goods shed was where the tall conifers are. the other shed facing the same way as the goods shed was there in the original picture, like I said, behind it, its just you cant see it!

Anonymous said...

the two buildings on the right of the trackbed in Jeffery Grayer's 1967 picture are in Steve's picture. the roofline, the roof window are the same. so they are still there. I've stood next to both of them! you better take a visit and have a better look.....

nothing more i can or will bother to say....

Anonymous said...

http://www.sdjr.net/locations/sturminster_newton.html
Please view the above page to see that the goods shed prominent in the 1967 photo is sadly demolished and was built forwards of the white painted building with the overhang which is clearly visible in the photo and still remains.

Oscar

Anonymous said...

Yes the picture does prove I was referring to the wrong building, but if you hadn't been so rude in your first comment( get your facts right!!!!!) I wouldn't have been so forthright in my replies..

So what did they call the building with the overhanging roof?

Anonymous said...

the building with the overhanging roof, which is still there, presumably dates from the late forties -ish and was not part of the railway, it was private, although the goods shed through siding may have abutted it for rail loading under the extant awning. whos this guy who wants to reopen the sturminster to henstridge section, and how? - with a filled in cutting, soon to be covered in housing and 3 missing separate river spans to the north; no road access etc etc etc! I could start a group saying I wanted to restore A to B, without any financial, membership or engineering, or council clout whatsoever!

Sunshiner said...

Whoever's started it he's obviously got his head screwed on!

The SRG are taking their inspiration from the New S&D and rather than looking to the past or today are looking to the future transport needs of the area and have made the right decision.

Nobody's suggesting a Sturminster Newton to Henstridge section in isolation, but as part of the whole line revival. They are NOT talking about reopening this tiny section but buying up stretches of the trackbed. Where a local group is interested in buying up stretches of trackbed for eventual future use it means the New S&D doesn't have to worry about that stretch but can concentrate resources elsewhere, which is why we fully support them (and the Midsomer Norton, Shillingstone, Gartell and Two Tunnels groups).

When the oil starts running out EVERYONE will be clamouring for their trains back - this is going to be the easiest thing in the world to achieve. If the houses ARE built at SN then they will be compulsorily purchased and demolished when the trains return.

Don't knock them - join them!

Oscar said...

Just to clarify as it sounds as I am the person being accused of being rude, the post with the link to a pic of Stur Newton was my first post here and was signed to identify the sender. I had made no previous comment.
Thank you.

Oscar

Anonymous said...

Any houses built at Sturminster on the trackbed will be blighted before they are even finished. As they will be modern it won't take long to knock them down anyway? And if you don't believe that will ever happen, it has been done before, to new build near Worksop. Goods and people need to travel and the price for being totally dependent on oil is being in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it is a high price we are paying. We should be investing in alternatives, and rail is that future, so sometime soon the pressure to re-open will be too great to ignore. Just say it kicks off in Iran, what then for the world's supply of oil from the gulf area? Imagine the panic back in 2000 during the fuel protests, but this time it would be so much worse. Sort of changes things a bit, doesn’t it?
Knoxy

and keep posting Oscar, it isn't always like this..

Sunshiner said...

However things pan out - whether oil wars precipitate matters, whether we just get sidelined as China and India grab all the oil or if it's a slow decline into an oil-less future, the outcome will be the same. Crumbling roads, less of us able to run cars and a huge scramble to get lines reopened and totally new routes built.

To be fair to some of the nostalgic posters here, until you've had your 'Peak Oil' moment, when suddenly the future becomes clear, this may all seem a little strange. But once you've had it, the way things are being done now - with houses still being seriously proposed on lines that will need to be opened soon, and even a few road schemes STILL being suggested, and bail-outs of car companies - once you've had it most of what's being done today will seem far stranger!

The need to shift from an oil importing economy to a sustainable energy-independent economy is getting more vital every day. The New S&D is an important part of that process. I'm sorry if that upsets some (pre-Peak Oil moment) readers, heritage railway fans and petrolheads, but that's just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

The Sturminster Railway Group(SRG) Is a railway interest and Trackbed Group. We want to rekindle the Sturminster Newton Railway Circle and we have an interest in the Henstridge to Sturminster part of the S&D. We will not interefere with railway interests north of Henstridge. We have just put it out on New S&D to see what people think of a railway Group at Stur. It is early day and we know what is missing on this part of the route.

Simon Ellison said...

I note, with some disquiet, the rather 'negative' comments which seem to blight all aspects of railway restoration, in whatever form that takes.
Thing is: There are ALWAYS dissenters and ne'er do well's who delight in the negativity of their own lives, and like to project on to others their attitude.
If you do not believe in something with passion, then it's best not be get involved at all - applies to life generally, not just railways.
The obstacles to reinstating a continuous rail route from Bath/Bristol through to Poole/Bournemouth are huge, but not insurmountable. Of course there will have to be deviation from the original route at various locations, but, essentially, the route in it's entirety should be, and MUST be reinstated, because rail will be the only sure way of transporting heavy freight and passengers in a viable way to smaller towns and villages in the future of road degradation and spiralling fuel costs.
Councils are being squeezed like sponges for funding which will not be forthcoming for essential road repair - Here, where I live, roads are like rutted farm tracks, damage to wheels, tyres and steering geometry is becoming horrendous as well as unsafe.
Roads like minor 'B' and unclassified ones are left to their own devices due to lack of funding for repairs - that situation is fuelled by inclement weather which rapidly adds to the [rapid] destruction of surface 'black top'
How will we move anywhere in relative safety without wrecking our spines and our vehicle's suspension ? Are we to remain isolated in villages which have roads not fit for purpose?
At least a rail link would mean no more road wrecking heavy trucks - all commerce conducted by small trucks/vans from RAIL depot to destination - probably by electric engined vehicles.
But, before we all fall into the trap of 'electric' propelled vehicles [of ANY sort], just remember this: Electricity has to be generated - which still means oil/coal/nuclear powered generating plants - so at whatever point, there will always be some form of 'unfriendly' fuel being used to provide all this 'clean' electricity. Im sorry, but these pathetic wind farms will just NOT fit the bill for reliable and continous power supply, besides which, they are a blot on the landscape as well being a major threat to wild life, which also has the right to exist.
Remember this: Rail over road transport has much in it's favour:
A. It is fairly unobtrusive to the environment - noise is a minor consideration..once a train has passed the sound of it's passage fades back into natural surrounding sound level, unlike the continuous drone of road transport.
B. The physical space needed to run trains is much less than an A class road !
C. Many more people die on the roads than on railways.
D. The cost of fuel is slashed as ton for ton, railway transport is far more efficient [much less frictional resistance on steel rail]
E. More economical - a typical train load is equivalent to many 44 ton trucks but in ONE movement and with ONE loco.
F. Faster - over distance, rail is MUCH quicker than road.

There are many other considerations which I have not entered here, but Iam preaching to the converted ! It's the general public and local government who need to be 'educated'
The monopoly of road transport is over - it's time to bring back OUR trains for the betterment of OUR lives, our childrens and their childrens lives.
Short term-ism has been this countries failing - is the reason for blinded politicians wrecking a once comprehensive railway infrastructure, and HERE lies our problem. It's so much easier to destroy than construct - all for short term profit/gains which gain NOTHING in the 'long run'
We should DEMAND government aid in repairing the damage THEY were responsible for in the first place !

Simon Ellison said...

I note, with some disquiet, the rather 'negative' comments which seem to blight all aspects of railway restoration, in whatever form that takes.
Thing is: There are ALWAYS dissenters and ne'er do well's who delight in the negativity of their own lives, and like to project on to others their attitude.
If you do not believe in something with passion, then it's best not be get involved at all - applies to life generally, not just railways.
The obstacles to reinstating a continuous rail route from Bath/Bristol through to Poole/Bournemouth are huge, but not insurmountable. Of course there will have to be deviation from the original route at various locations, but, essentially, the route in it's entirety should be, and MUST be reinstated, because rail will be the only sure way of transporting heavy freight and passengers in a viable way to smaller towns and villages in the future of road degradation and spiralling fuel costs.
Councils are being squeezed like sponges for funding which will not be forthcoming for essential road repair - Here, where I live, roads are like rutted farm tracks, damage to wheels, tyres and steering geometry is becoming horrendous as well as unsafe.
Roads like minor 'B' and unclassified ones are left to their own devices due to lack of funding for repairs - that situation is fuelled by inclement weather which rapidly adds to the [rapid] destruction of surface 'black top'
How will we move anywhere in relative safety without wrecking our spines and our vehicle's suspension ? Are we to remain isolated in villages which have roads not fit for purpose?
At least a rail link would mean no more road wrecking heavy trucks - all commerce conducted by small trucks/vans from RAIL depot to destination - probably by electric engined vehicles.
But, before we all fall into the trap of 'electric' propelled vehicles [of ANY sort], just remember this: Electricity has to be generated - which still means oil/coal/nuclear powered generating plants - so at whatever point, there will always be some form of 'unfriendly' fuel being used to provide all this 'clean' electricity. Im sorry, but these pathetic wind farms will just NOT fit the bill for reliable and continous power supply, besides which, they are a blot on the landscape as well being a major threat to wild life, which also has the right to exist.
Remember this: Rail over road transport has much in it's favour:
A. It is fairly unobtrusive to the environment - noise is a minor consideration..once a train has passed the sound of it's passage fades back into natural surrounding sound level, unlike the continuous drone of road transport.
B. The physical space needed to run trains is much less than an A class road !
C. Many more people die on the roads than on railways.
D. The cost of fuel is slashed as ton for ton, railway transport is far more efficient [much less frictional resistance on steel rail]
E. More economical - a typical train load is equivalent to many 44 ton trucks but in ONE movement and with ONE loco.
F. Faster - over distance, rail is MUCH quicker than road.

There are many other considerations which I have not entered here, but Iam preaching to the converted ! It's the general public and local government who need to be 'educated'
The monopoly of road transport is over - it's time to bring back OUR trains for the betterment of OUR lives, our childrens and their childrens lives.
Short term-ism has been this countries failing - is the reason for blinded politicians wrecking a once comprehensive railway infrastructure, and HERE lies our problem. It's so much easier to destroy than construct - all for short term profit/gains which gain NOTHING in the 'long run'
We should DEMAND government aid in repairing the damage THEY were responsible for in the first place !