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

longmoor revival?

They are springing up all over, rail restoration schemes. The following is from Keith Browning, and concerns a line that fascinated me as a child. I did get to see it just after closure, when the track was still down but before I had a camera, in 1970. I did get to photograph the LMR platform at Liss (top picture) in 1977, and I remember the same location in 1971 (again pre-camera) when there were steam locos stored for a sadly unfulfilled restoration scheme which would have seen regular steam trains again on at least part of the route. The scheme - incredibly - was killed off by residents who, quite wrongly, thought that the project would lower their house prices!

Of course no such nonsense will affect the new scheme ...

[T]here is soon to be a public meeting to discuss the possible reinstatement of the Bordon to Liss section of the Longmoor Military railway, with the intention of making it part of the main rail network. Bordon is a village designated for expansion, using much of the old army land, and so using the old trackbed is seen as a cost effective way of improving the transport infrastructure. The local roads are currently single carriageway and the terrain doesn't lead itself to dual carriageways.

The other section of this route, which once 'linked' the Portsmouth to London and Alton to London routes, has also been slated for possible rebuilding, the Bentley to Bordon section. Perhaps the whole line should be restored to allow not only access to the south but also to the north, as well as establishing an excellent diversionary and freight route.
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Bob said...

Let's hope that the residents who formerly opposed the railway - and indeed succeeded in closing it down - aren't still about...

Sunshiner said...

I suspect that forty years on they are all in their dotage, deceased or regretting the fact that being too old to drive cars they miss the trains!