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, March 21, 2010


We've had a comment to an earlier post which I'd like to bring to the main board.

I do think the writer has a valid point about congestion TODAY, but I personally feel that to push the congestion angle too much could well leave us with egg on our faces as traffic FALLS due to the steadily rising cost of energy (which will apply to petrol/diesel AND electrically operated cars).

By setting our argument and lobbying within the long term problem - ie Peak Oil and its consequences - I think we're positioning ourselves well ahead of the crowd and I feel we'll reap benefits from it from now and in the future. I worry that arguing the congestion case too loudly we'll look stupid in the face of the facts, but as I said above I do think that congestion is an issue now, and may even be for a few more years. But what do you all think? Feel free to support or challenge any of the views quoted above and below, and please post all comments to the comments section under this post.

I already have an electric car, powered by water according to Southern Electric. We still need to talk about congestion as that is the issue now. Petrol cars will be on the roads for at least the next two decades and we will wait for an eternity to rely on the public's acceptance of peak oil to switch. As I have said on here before, the car will be the last thing to go. Air travel, foreign holidays, new consumer goods and all other discretionary spending will decline before people give up their cars. if we are going to regenerate the railways today we need to sell them to the public in a language it understands.
Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Knoxy said...

Congestion is certainly the reason a lot of people use rail now, and to take the Portishead Branch as an example how long would it take using a train, compared with a car, to commute into Bristol? The public understand this argument well, and it also stands up with the switch to electric cars. What is the journey time from Radstock to Bristol, or Bath? And would that be easily beaten by train today? I would have thought easily so?
Most motorists would love to see more freight on the railways as it would leave more road space for them, together with less roadworks due to the damage caused by the heavy goods vehicles.
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in traffic jams, so yes congestion is an issue the general public will understand. Post ‘Peak Oil’ it may not be, but today it is, so I suggest we use this to our advantage.
It was a valid reason not to close the Somerset & Dorset and therefore it is a reason to re-open it again.