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 23, 2009

how not to run a railway

This is amazing. You would think the country was awash in money rather than being in a deep recession. Each of these signs seems -to me - perfectly adequate for many years of use. Yet the company erecting them has been quite happy to waste further paint on putting 'temorary sign' on each and will no doubt be wasting further resources on producing what will be essentially duplicates when the signs are replaced. To me this is an argument for more privatization because surely a private company would never have wasted money like this?
Rest assured the New S&D will not engage in this madness!
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Anonymous said...

Are we only going to use parry people movers as the modern transport train? The New S&D might encourage more people than a parry people mover can carry. Perhaps we could also let some companies run trains over the New S&D for longer services such as London Waterloo- Bournemouth( Via Bath). Of coarse we would need to provide a link which differs to the original SDJR route to Bath Green Path. What rolling stock would we use?

Sunshiner said...

I don't think PPMs have ever been suggested except for a few local and branch services. I'd be surprised if the average New S&D passenger service needed less than 10 carriages to make full use of available paths. And I'm sure that full use of the line will be encouraged with other companies being welcomed to run some services, particularly freight. There are two options around Bath, with a link to the old Camerton route north of Midford to Limpley Stoke and with restoration of the Pensford route into Bristol. With restoration of the Blandford - Wimborne - Ringwood route to link with the Waterloo-Bournemouth line at Brockenhurst this should give us enough capacity to handle almost any level of traffic, which also suggests double tracking of the whole route including those sections that were not double track originally.

Who knows what rolling stock will be used in the future? I imagine railway development will be very rapid as the oil runs out, with many companies now making cars and lorries switching to rolling stock to survive.

The New S&D will be open to all viable/sustainable forms of locomotion (which obviously excludes diesel!), from electric to new build wood burning steam. This doesn't exclude steam-worked enthusiast specials off the network, if such things will still exist in an energy constrained future.

Anonymous said...

'...a private company would never have wasted money like this'.
Tommy rot! The former rail network of the UK is full of examples of such waste. How about the duplicated tracks of the GWR and M&SWJR between Savernake and Marlborough for starters!

Sunshiner said...

I must admit I wasn't thinking about historic railway companies but current private lines, including the future New S&D.

Re your example surely as separate companies this was merely a sign of good competition, and the two routes offered totally different services. Weren't they both single track so the equivalent to a double track between the two places?

My real point was that publically owned companies, like TfL, are bound to be more profligate than private companies who have shareholders watching their every move. There is also the waste of resource issue, which hardly mattered to the Victorians who were drowned in natural resources!