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, March 10, 2010

expanding the network

(All Salhouse, on the Cromer and Sheringham line)

(Info courtesy Keith Browning)

Tomorrow (11 March 2010) Oliver Cromwell (the loco, not the 17th century Parliamentarian) will ceremoniously reconnect the North Norfolk Railway and the Network via the new link joining the two railways at Sheringham. This tiny piece of missing track has remained just a dream for decades, no doubt due to the small-minded dinosaurs that still haven't got the fact that railways are on the march again. Hopefully this will serve as a model for the Midsomer Norton group's reattachment to the network via the Frome line.

Now this gap was tiny and the cost of connecting the two lines miniscule, but for years the NNR remained isolated, just because of a road! I think it does underline the fact that the biggest obstacle to rail reinstatement is often not economic or practical, but in the minds of those people that haven't 'got' Peak Oil yet. Obviously more are 'getting it' every day which is why these reinstatements are getting commoner and commoner.

I would like to see regular tourist and enthusiasts' specials accessing the route, but wouldn't it be excellent if the current Network services running to Sheringham continued to Holt? That would be real progress! Then onwards to Melton Constable and Norwich ...
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