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!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

the big next step

There have always been two main strands to what the New S&D is about. We have some members who are very interested in the original line plus the heritage groups currently restoring parts of the route. Other members have a keen interest in building a brand new route between Bath/Bristol and Bournemouth/Brockenhurst with barely a nod at its historic value. Some members have an equal interest in both aspects.

At the end of the day the New S&D is a supporters group that intends to both restore the railway and record it through history, past, present and, of course, future.

The New S&D will therefore develop to embrace both these aspects. In 2010 we'll be starting our limited company to purchase track and rebuild the route. The New S&D will always own at least 51% of this company.

The other direction in which we will develop is as a group determined to record all aspects of the S&D, preserving ephemera, historical records, photos, films and oral history as well as physically recreating sections of the route.

As a New S&D member you'll be able to throw your energy into both or either of these options. Personally I believe the synergy between these two aspects of what we're about will make us a unique and powerful force in Britain's second Railway Age. I can't wait!
Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking at the historical is fine, but I'm looking at this as a route to get me to work in the future.

You can't help but see all the press cuttings about the reopening of many various railway lines axed under beeching - more every month, every month. The S&D will come to the fore at some point in the next 25 years simply because its economically sound - climate/peak oil arguments aside. There is simply no other route to Bournemouth that cuts the same way.

Most of the trackbed is preserved - we need to start lobbying officals now, and keep on doing so until its impossible not to hear us. Its simple economics that will make this once great railway come to life in the future, not a few people at MN tinkering at playing trains.