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

hitting home

A gem from Mick Knox -

The picture of Midford is pure nostalgia. I even like the unclutted road, neat verges and the concrete & wire fencing. No pikey palisade fencing anywhere to be seen, unlike today’s Britain (Chilcompton Tunnel road access as an example). We have so much to admire in the transport infrastructure the Victorian’s bequeathed us, and yet we didn’t, and judging by Leicester City council demolition of the Braunstone Gate GC Bridge (ongoing), still don’t. I would love to see the S&D reborn, and deep down I know I will, because whatever happens with oil, you can’t just rely on one transport solution, i.e. roads. That was the mistake of the past, because somebody (like Mr Marples?) saw to it that everything had to go by road. And this is the view of a petrolhead, who still can enjoy driving, has motorcycles, has driven HGV’s, and started his working life as a vehicle mechanic in the army. The train is the superior form of transport and is once again on the rise in Europe and especially China. If the Beeching era had never happened here we would all have been better off, even those who never used a train, as the roads would have been less congested. So rail will once again rise here, especially when outside of the control of politicians, so let’s make the Somerset & Dorset the example and support the New S&D, and all groups aiming to preserve the route. United we triumph. Anyone noticed how oil is creeping up in price again? During a recession!

I'm planning a piece on oil very soon so Mick's comment is very timely. It also hits on something that's, to me at least, a little difficult to define. But do as Mick has and look at this site's header picture of Midford. Our built environment does not have to be forbidding and characterless. It can be modern but human scale. The S&D did this brilliantly, fitting in and enhancing the environment wherever it ran. The New S&D will do the same.
Posted by Picasa

No comments: