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!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

more midford

Thanks to Westfield Wanderers for pulling me up on this!

He asked -

No mention in your piece about the cycle route which can be seen passing through the site. What are your plans in the short to medium term with this? How is your relationship with Sustrans?

My reply -

Sorry I didn't cover this in the original post - Sustrans is of course the other presence at Midford we'll need to work closely with.

The cycle route won't be affected by our plans, at least in the short to medium term. It may be that at some stage, if we decide to lay track (for cosmetic reasons) that the cycleway will be diverted alongside and along the platform. Eventually of course we'll need to work closely with Sustrans to divert the cycle route slightly away from the railway, but this is enshrined in the terms of the lease that Sustrans currently holds, which require them to vacate the railway trackbed when a REAL railway (that is a line that is primarily a transport as opposed to heritage line) is reinstated. In other words until the line is restored as a fully working public railway the cycleway will stay in place.

We expect our relations with Sustrans to be superb as we are both sustainable transport organisations. We would love to see a cycle route running from Bath to Bournemouth, alongside the S&D wherever possible, with preferential fares for cyclists at all points.

I think it's very important to remember that the New S&D will be a major employer, the primary transport link and the only way to move large numbers of people and freight in the future along this important transport corridor, so nothing will deflect us from our very important task!

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