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!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

bristol's tramways take shape

Works alongside Hartcliffe Way, Bristol, January 2010. Trams at last??

Bristol has a population of 380,615.
Bratislava (Slovakia) has a population of 426,927.

Bratislava has 40km of tramways and 13 lines. This is in addition to a suburban railway network, metro, trolleybuses and even (LOL) buses.

Bristol has 0km of tramways and 0 lines. This is in addition to a railway network that cleverly avoids most places, including Portishead, no metro, no trolleybuses and lots of (LOL) buses, many of which proudly proclaim 'Not in Service'.

No, the pic isn't of tramway works in Bristol. Our Supertram was abandoned a few years ago by a bunch of spineless councillors who would rather look backwards than forwards and have consequently condemned Bristol to years of congestion. The trams WILL come, that's inevitable. No real city lacks trams. What the pic is of is the new cycleway - but the interesting thing is that it can, and will, convert easily to a tram route. Perhaps the councillors here are taking their heads out of the sand and are - at last - looking ahead, even if they are doing it covertly.

So what's Bratislava got to do with anything? Well, apart from being a similar size to Bristol it's our holiday destination in June. And why did we choose it? Precisely because it does have modern public transport, which makes it tourist friendly.

And what's any of this got to do with the New S&D? Well, Bristol will be a destination for us, using the old Pensford route. In fact I fully expect trams to shadow our route south from Bristol to Whitchurch station on the New S&D. And trams will almost certainly reappear in Bournemouth, Poole and up to Broadstone and Wimborne. Over the longer term trams/light railways will pop up everywhere, feeding into the new rail network, carrying frieght as well as passengers. Those dinosaurs who think that the 21st century will merely see a reversal of the Beeching cuts simply haven't understood the urgency and depth of the energy crisis.

So keep watching this space. I fully expect to retake these pictures by 2015 with tram tracks running down Hartcliffe Way!
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Anonymous said...

sadly another waste of money bus lane down the malago vale. the morons at banes highways spent 900,000 on a 1000 yard bus lane at odd down, beneficial to only 5 buses at most and saving zero time when aggregated out amongst your average queue down into down for the next 2 miles. meanwhile, the A367 is in danger of slipping away into the cam valley literally a quarter mile down the road and further on at dunkerton, not withstanding the terrible potholes everywhere. banes want their assess kicking; where do these toffs come from who get away with squandering our money, whilst the dolemeans and twerton section of the gwr are choked with weeds and small tress pushing the brickwork apart, with zero maintenance?!!!!!! tossers!!!!!!!!!

Knoxy said...

because they haven't woken up to the fact that things are changing. Just printing money and building houses isn't enough, nor is paying for a generation without work. we as a country must have a intergrated transport system, cheap to use and available to all. without it, we will just become poorer, so sooner or later something will be done. i can't wait for that so i've started already, but we need more to get involved, join the organisations, and do something about it......

jeremywoodrow said...

Hi Steve.

Interestingly, Mr Branson appears to be comming on board the Peak Oil Express...I quote from the Metro 11/2/10 "Oil price rise could trigger 'social chaos'" headline, text = "The inevitable rise in oil prices will push up food, heating and travel prices in Britain and could cause deep social problems, Sir Richard Branson said yesterday."
"he and other business leaders argue that Britain is not prepared for when crude oil supplies start running out. In a report "The Oil Crunch - A Wake Up Call for the UK Economy", they warn that alternative energy sources must be found - and quickly".
"Unless we do so, we face a situation during the term of the next government where fuel price unrest could lead to shortages in consumer products and the UK's energy security will be significantly comprimised", they predict.
"The group wants much wider railway electrification and £9 billion invested in public transport".

When Sir Richard B jumps on board, it is time for the world to wake up to the real scenario of Peak Oil? Hope this is of use, Jeremy.

Anonymous said...

You know I read this and thought "Good God, Bristol Council doing something that makes sense?!". As it turns out not really. As the old saying goes, SNAFU!