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!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

getting our act together

Two angles under the same heading.

First of all thanks to Andy Thompson again of RailTube who has taken on the task of bringing our IT services up to scratch. Not the website, which is in the very capable hands of David Bailey, but the blog, Facebook and Twitter.

He's created a general S&D Facebook page which already - in under two weeks - has 108 members! He's also created an S&D Twitter page which already has 83 followers!

It shows that there is huge support for the S&D out there, and that this support can be nurtured through all these internet channels.

It brings me on to my next point - the FIVE S&D groups, who all have the same aim, that is restoring and preserving the S&D, need to commit to combining, so that we can draw on far more resources and not keep reinventing the wheel. It seems that there has been some 'history' between groups, which as far as I'm concerned is nonsense. There's no room for egos or nastiness within a hundred miles of the S&D, it's not what we're about or have ever been about. The S&D was a friendly, family-orientated line, and as its successors we need to be the same.

I think this is where ordinary members should take the initiative. Join all the groups, then vote to make sure they do everything they can to make an easy transition to just one S&D group representing the whole route. The New S&D has this aim enshrined in its constitution, as members of the other groups we should ensure that they also adopt this as an aim. It will make the S&D stronger and trains between Bath and Bournemouth depart - and arrive - much sooner.
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will said...

Out of interest, what are the other groups? Cranmore, S&DR Heritage Trust (Midsomer Norton) and...?

Sunshiner said...

Not Cranmore, they're based on the old Cheddar Valley route (GWR).

The other groups are the SDRT at Washford, the NDRT at Shillingstone and the Gartell Railway. Possibly even the Avon Valley could be brought into the fold eventually as they are based on the link line from Bath Green Park which would give us a second approach to Bristol (the other being via the old Bristol-Radstock-Frome route).