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!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

the future starts yesterday

Yesterday's announcement that an alliance of local residents and climate protestors had managed to get the third Heathrow Airport runway stopped dead in its tracks, the day after admissions that the British road network was cracking up after the 'harsh' winter, are more signs that the pendulum is now swinging fully in favour of rail development and reinstatement.

Heathrow 3 was always a dead duck, but I was surprised just how much retrenchment there's been from maintaining the road network. If governments really believed the hype that roads had a future would they really allow them to deteriorate as they are? If that were true surely almost all transport investment would go to roads? That's clearly not happening.

The real sign that air traffic was expected to decline happened years ago, when Concorde was retired with no replacement. The real sign that the decline of road traffic was expected was the opening of the Channel Tunnel as a rail, rather than road, tunnel.

So the process begun in the 80s and 90s, which was also yesterday in a different sense of the word. We do indeed live in interesting times!
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