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!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

branching out

Two above courtesy Jeffery Grayer.

Courtesy Adrian Vaughan.

We'd like to welcome Steve Overthrow on board the New S&D team. He'd only discovered this blog a few days ago, has since joined and is now acting as track steward for Evercreech Junction to Burnham and the Bridgwater North and Wells branches. He will also be taking a keen interest in these branch affairs via a co-opted committee role. He has a long family history with the 'branch'.

We have always intended to restore the branches as well as the main line. All S&D branches served important towns and a city - Wimborne, Wells, Glastonbury, Burnham and Bridgwater - and also provided potential modern transport to many villages en route.

Restoration of the branch presents few physical obstructions and compared to the main line follows a very easy and lightly-engineered route. Early on I mooted restoration of Burnham-Highbridge or even an isolated (at first) route between Wells and Glastonbury as possible first steps towards restoration of the branch, mainly to find our feet as rail operators and to show that we are very serious. I can imagine Parry People Movers (of which more tomorrow) being ideal transport on these flat routes. The branch had a particular charm which I think will be recovered when it is restored - the landscape through which it runs has changed little during the four decades of temporary closure.
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