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, December 07, 2009

reaching out to our new demographic

It was always clear to me that the first steps in establishing an organisation with the clear aim of restoring the whole S&D as a fully functional modern railway would be to appeal to enthusiasts first. That first step has now clearly worked, and far more successfully than I'd dared hope. The next step is to involve the existing heritage groups more. They need to have people on our committee, and also soon as directors of the limited company. That also seems to now be happening.

I expect that by the end of 2010 we will have a very vibrant organsiation that will be a model for new generation rail revival groups all over the UK. By drawing on the energy and resources of 'traditional' rail enthusiasts we can then bring in our true target - the people living along the route of the S&D, people that have no interest in railways except as a means to get from A to B. They need to see that we are VERY serious about bringing the railway back, and that we have the organisation to make it happen using our multiple approach of trackbed purchase, selective restoration (and support for already established heritage lines en route) and lobbying.

The first step towards approaching this group of people will be the launch of our leaflet, which should arrive any day soon. I've already had many requests for these, so it shouldn't be too difficult to place these up and down the route to show local people what we are all about. Considering we've only been going 9 months this is excellent progress. This local launch will be backed up by a big press assault on both the national railway press and the local general press, ensuring that everyone that needs to know we exist does know!

As soon as the leaflet arrives I'll post it to the blog and also ensure those who have already requested get their copies for distribution ASAP.
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1 comment:

John said...

I was looking at the S and D route on google earth the other day and it struck me that one of the sections that was fairly clear of major obstruction was that between Templecombe and Wincanton.Main line connection at one end,possible park and ride to get traffic from the A303 at the other,might this be a good section to start the rebuilding of the S and D? Just an idea to be kicked around or kicked out!