Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
a new S&D gets closer every day
I can never praise Midsomer Norton enough. They have been the inspiration for all further developments on the S&D, particularly Shillingstone and, to a greater extent, the New S&D.
Last night I had the privilege of meeting Nick Howes again after a break of a few years. Nick was the person who saved Midsomer Norton from developers, with the help of local councillor Shirley Steel. I used to work with him on the Midsomer Norton Monday track gang. Nick conveyed the news that Shillingstone were now prepared to publicly support the New S&D. It's taken over a year, but I think we needed to prove ourselves first. We could have floundered, like a few other S&D groups over the years, but in fact the New S&D has flourished in a way I never dared hoped for, and I feel we've now reached that tipping point where both the wider railway community and the local population along the route realise that what we're proposing is not only viable but essential.
Imagine the situation back in the early nineties when Nick surveyed the scene at Midsomer Norton. The building was in disrepair, the signalbox just a pile of stones in a hole, the gap between the platforms was filled in, the very top of the loading gauge stuck out of a pile of tons of rubble. Imagine what the locals and railway buffs thought of the plan! Fifteen years on Midsomer Norton is just about fully restored, an absolute gem of a station, and the line will start running trains again very soon.
On the same day as the excellent news from Shillingstone we have also been embraced by the Gartell Railway who want us to appear at their next S&D Gala event and I've now heard on the grapevine that purchase of Midford - which will almost certainly happen in April or early May - will swing Midsomer Norton over to us as well.
Once all the S&D groups can present this essential united front we can really start the job of bringing back this fantastic railway! 2010 is going to be an absolutely sensational year for the S&D!