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!

Monday, November 09, 2009


D1120 at Midsomer Norton 6.11.2009

This is a sight for sore eyes! This was the first time I'd seen the resident diesel at Midsomer norton in its new livery. What an incredible improvement on the odd Prussian blue livery it used to sport!

I never got the way certain rail enthusiasts spent years getting the infrastructure looking right only to have the whole illusion destroyed by inappropriate liveries. Midsomer Norton is supposed to represent the station as it was in 1955 or thereabouts. Yet up till last year this diesel appeared in what to all intents and purposes looked like an industrial locomotive livery.

Another feather in Midsomer Norton's cap. And a historic picture. How much longer before diesel locomotives vanish entirely as their fuel sources dry up?
Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

So you don't want visitors like SDJR liveried 7F No 88 steaming in and spoiling it for you? Or a SOUTHERN liveried Bullied Pacific or an LMS Black 5 and NO GREAT WESTERN locomotives at all. And if you want authenticity then it rulles out 95% of the most presitgious and most wanted visitor locos as, by regular standards, the S&D was worked by the jagged commoners of the railway world. No A4s, no Castles or Kings and nothing as large as a Duchess or a Britania except the Bullied's which were and still are as common as muck.

Anonymous said...

It is an old industrial locomotive and so you could argue that it is now not authentic! However, I still think it looks better than it did.

Sunshiner said...

Wow!! Where did I mention visiting locomotives??

Let's get a couple of things clear. This post was about ONE diesel at MN, owned by MN, but because of the personal preference of someone who was there years ago (who has now left), who wanted MN to be 'a small demonstration steam museum', it was lumbered with prussian blue livery, against the wishes of 99% of the members. You have to admit it looks miles better and doesn't jar with the
50s atmosphere of the infrastructure.

How you developed this point to one where MN would not allow any visitors to their line is extraordinary!

I have NO influence at MN and this blog is a private blog. You shouldn't take any statement on here, unless expressly designated as such, as policy of any S&D group.

The New S&D, an entirely separate and very different concern, as part of its remit will set up on route a steam centre. This will serve as a servicing, stabling and viewing point for visiting locomotives, and also as a centre for developing ultra-modern steam power.

Surely from the above, and from the 100s of posts on this site, it would be clear to anyone that the rebuilt route (Bath to Bourneouth) will welcome ALL visiting locomotives, be they steam, diesel, electric, gas powered or indeed nuclear!

The original S&D had locos from three regions - including the Western - so quite often a New S&D train will, when running through MN and Shillingstone for example, sit perfectly well with the restored infrastructure. But the next train may well be an ultra modern freight or a Parry People Mover. Hardly a policy of exclusiveness!!

To reiterate the post's original and only point - No 10 looks 1000 times better in appropriate BR green rather than in 'industrial' style prussian blue. It fits with the infrastructure and takes MN further away from the 'toy railway' image some enthusiasts end up with through lack of focus and desperation.

(PS I'm not a loco person, but an infrastructure/social history/economics person, so insulting particular locos will have no effect on me whatsoever!!)

Toddingtonted said...

I think SDJR No 88, albeit not the correct livery for the locomotive in the condition it is now (happy to be corrected on this though) would look superb on a train from MN up to Chilcompton and back. Having seen this loco "in the flesh" at a steam gala on the Glos Warks Rly a couple of years ago I was pleasantly surprised by its livery and the overall appearance, to me anyway, was very smart and quite a number of visitors shared this view. The bottom line is that the locomotive's owners will, to a large extent, dictate its livery. However, I'm all for authenticity too where possible. Hopefully the MN experience, when it opens to the public giving steam and diesel train rides, will encourage others to join up. The much more serious side of the business, namely the reinstatement of the whole S&D as a modern railway route, will take a little longer (A couple of years ago I would have said that it was a pipe-dream but it clearly isn't now!) but selling train rides on a little bit of the old S&D will serve to encourage money to swell the coffers. If that means a GWR liveried Pannier Tank for a couple of years then I'd still pay my money and ride behind it!

Nick Howes said...

I have been very disappointed with so called S&D enthusiasts support of the midsomer norton project over the last 14 years. After all the years of lamenting,supporting s&d galas at other railways, buying books and videos, the hardcore photographers etc have practically turned their back on midsomer norton. Compared to its status as a landmark heritage event, the jinty in 2005 was very poorly supported, practically non existant. No video footage has ever materialed on youtube or on any dvds, nothing. Lets hope that now the group is finding its feet with a superb signalbox, double track vista and regularily maintained lineside - amongst other things, that a call to dig deep to support the haulage and steaming costs of ex br, lms and southern tanks or tenders will be met and exceeded, putting this famous 2000 feet of mainline up there where it belongs at the top. when running begins though, everyone should be in uniform and hi-vis kept to a minimum and modern clutter and appendages kept to an absolute minimum. With this line above all others, pulling off a special atmosphere is the key. Industrial steam and diesel are not appropriate motive power to hire in or run at big events, and i'm sorry, but the worst thing that could happen is hire in anything with a copper cap, just because its on offer.

Nick Howes

Anonymous said...

You should try and get the Jinty back or either 88 or 89 for a big steam event next year. 88 is more local. Or how about a Bullied for a weekend? Or a BR Standard tank?

Anonymous said...

jinty would be good. then BR STD4MT Tank. 88 is prussian blue, so it would have to be 89, but no-one is going to offset that sort of cost i'm afraid for loco and tender. Hope it will be the jinty, but please please please no more bitton peckett or pannier mentality. nothing would keep enthusiasts away more!!!!!!!!! industrials make ex big 4 railways laughing stocks.

Anonymous said...

How about a Hymek?

Anonymous said...

how would a hymek possibly attract any more than a handful of hardcore diesel bashers and who would pay for the allelys transport from williton and back?