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 18, 2009

sturminster newton and that 'peak oil moment'

We've had some fun on the comments pages revolving around Sturminster Newton, the SRG, rail revival and even the difficulty for rail revival of houses built on OUR trackbed.

Mick Knox, as always spot on, came up with this -

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?

And I added -

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.


John said...

Reminds me of the 10 odd houses constructed on the Elmers End/Croydon line when it closed in 1983, only to be demolished less than 10 years later when they built the Tramlink.

You've got to wonder why, given the strategic importance of closed lines, there isn't a national body making sure that local authorities actually respect PPG13. It's no good if one local authority decides to protect the right-of-way, only for the neighbouring authority to allow development and therefore lose the integrity of the route.

Anonymous said...

because there 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. the 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

Sunshiner said...

Wow! Someone's posting to the wrong blog!! Great for a laugh, and I giggle at 70s nostalgia as much as the next person, but I can spot an ironic wind-up when I see one.

Good try, but was it really worth the effort?

You are Michael Draper and I claim my £10!!