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!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

in the money

The Severn Valley Railway has achieved a record £6.25m turnover.

The figures relate to last year, when it carried 248,798 passengers, the second highest figure in its history.

The steam railway, which has a 16-mile (25km) line in Worcestershire and Shropshire, celebrates its 40th birthday this year.

It has secured a deal of about £100,000 to build a locomotive boiler from scratch for the first time, for Dolgoch on the Talyllyn Railway in mid-Wales.

Severn Valley opened a boiler shop in Bridgnorth in 1990 mainly to repair locomotives on its line, but it has since carried out work for other railways.

'Strong case'

The railway said any profits made on its turnover had been ploughed back into maintenance, repairs and improvements.

Marketing manager John Leach said: "It's true that many mainstream visitor attractions like coastal resorts and those on the UK's main tourism trail achieved results far better than expected last year.

"But we're not in a mainstream tourist area - we straddle two counties 'somewhere to the west of Birmingham'.

"The SVR has to make a strong case for itself in order to win a respectable share of the tourism market."

The line, between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, fully re-opened in Easter 2008 after recovering from flood damage in 2007, when the track was washed away in 45 places.

The Talyllyn Railway runs from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol.

Thanks to David Bailey for the information. Source.

And remember, the SVR doesn't even run passenger and freight trains for the people living along the route! So the potential income is a lot larger. I suspect the potential annual income for a new S&D including passenger, freight and heritage trains as well as associated retail premises could reach £50,000,000 quite easily. This underlines the scope and size of the project we're undertaking.

Interesting that the SVR offer a service that Shillingstone hope to do in the future, providing loco parts to other lines. Railways shouldn't be just about running trains, but also about identifying other potential and linked income streams.

By building infrastructure that can be used for both the host railway and other lines railways can make even more money and, more importantly, provide employment for local people.
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