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 16, 2009

new midsomer norton pics

(All above Steve Sainsbury 6.11.2009)

Check out these bang up to date photos of Midsomer Norton recently loaded by Nick Howes, spiritual founder of the S&D revival.
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Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic..

Could this be the start of the only other double track mainline section in preservation?

I’m pleased to see the Monday gang (presumed, as it usually is) has kept the embankment vegetation in check, and I can't wait to be down in Dec/Jan to attack the awkward sections of buddleia.

It looks as if things are really moving on at Midsomer Norton and I wonder how widely known this is amongst the local population? They have a truly wonderful heritage site developing in their midst, with hopefully more to come.....


David B said...

There still seems to be an awful lot of junk sitting around the station. It makes the place look a mess to any visitors. I really wish they would move it further down the line and out of sight.

Anonymous said...

Lack of volunteers david. its a lot lot better than it was. the only mess is on the goods shed road really. tidying mess isnt a priority. there is a deep set toy railway mindset prevailing. some hard working members are trying their best to put it back as it was, others dont care what it looks like - its just a dayout for most and will never attract the popularity it deserves without a strong heritage headed site manager whos not afraid to upset people and put his foot down hard. Its all about quality and image that counts but i'm afraid that isnt a priority here and never has been

Anonymous said...

looking good!....but there are passing loops on preserved railways longer than this. It wont be a mini great central until the infill is reached with 5000 feet of double track in place and a manicured cess with telegraph poles every 60 yards.

Toddingtonted said...

Projects such as this, even ones as well-loved as the real S&D, will always struggle to some extent until a certain "tipping point" is reached. The next stage, in my humble opinion, for the S&D will be running trains. OK, they won't run far but trains, preferably steam hauled behind well-presented coaches such as your Mk 1 shown in photos on this blog, will attract more people, even if only out of idle curiosity. The next stage after that of course is to run to somewhere and that's the real "tipping point." After that, I know that there are grand plans for the whole line and not long ago I was dismissing them as nonsense. Well, I stand corrected. There is no doubt that, if sufficient people want something, they will get it. Most of our very successful heritage railways started with less of a pedigree than the S&D and they have done well. I think the key is to offer something to the public as soon as possible. Progress is being made so well done to those that are making it happen.

Anonymous said...

"It won’t be a mini great central until the infill is reached with 5000 feet of double track in place and a manicured cess with telegraph poles every 60 yards."

That is exactly what I would like to see (without telegraph poles) and the reason I'm down every year to help clear the embankments. We should forget Somervale Sidings, and reinstate the double track all the way to the infill. With a tidy station etc we would have a heritage site to promote the vision of a returning S&D. We should find another location for storing equipment etc. Tidying mess is a priority, as image is everything these days. Image sells. Just take a look at a 50's lineside railway photograph and the contrast is obvious with today's railway network. Outside of the railway Tesco is an example of a company were image is very important, as it doesn't now look like the old 70's style supermarket. Image is everything.


Toddingtonted said...

Knoxy, you are bang on there. Well done for all your hard work and effort!

Anonymous said...

Well thank you for your support, but I'm only down a few times a year. John Bridges and the Monday gang put in sterling work each week; I just get stuck in when I can. I was only a little'n during the 60's, but I do appreciate the tidy embankments we had then. I believe Midsomer Norton and the S&D should carry that image forward to today. It is an iconic location.


Anonymous said...

This is nowhere else to service engines and stock so somevale 2 road sidings and 2 road shed with pit, screened with leylandi is unfortunately, essential. but the real key is the lineside look, something which very few preserved railways manage to acheive; no weeds on the 15 or 27 feet ballast bed, ruler straight ballast shoulders, 2 feet wide level ashpath cesses and ruler straight grass banks meeting the cess, with no weeds or junk, just the odd mature tree oh and a pole route, wired, with china insulators is in my view - essential,


jeff said...

i've got to say, as nice as a wired pole route would be, surely whilst funds are short it would be better to concentrate funds on getting a decent length of running line, as this will bring in more people, and more money, for the railway. Then when we get to somewhere such as chilcompton, i'd start an appeal for us to put in the telegraph poles all the way from chilcompton to midsomer, as then it would actually have a use, with all internal phone lines making use of the system, such as sigbox-sigbox, and station comms.

Anonymous said...

Jeff I wasnt suggesting the manicured double track and pole route be done now, thats just dream world ridiculous.

We have to concentrate on getting the other 3000 feet of down main laid (100 "free" bars from network rail plain nine renewals at £5,100 transport cost)

(and ballasted!!!!!!!!! at £52,500)

and terram matting,

and hiring pennys to grade the 81,000 square feet of trackbed



and then repeating another 100 bars of 60! 113A flat bottom rail at £5100 transport cost and then another £52,000 quids worth of ballast for the 3000 feet of up main from the infill back to the current up main railhead.

oh and not to mention the 2400 extra concrete sleepers needed ontop of the 1700 we acquired in November 2002.