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!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

parry on travelling

Two shots courtesy of Midsomer Norton volunteer and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North East Somerset Gail Coleshill. These show a Parry People Mover, an ingenious and low energy railcar that currently trundles up and down the Stourbridge branch, but has also made appearances in Hove and Bristol, among other places. The clever thing about these is that they employ a flywheel to capture brake energy, and can be recharged very quickly when stopped at a station. It obviates the need for overhead wires, which has both economic and aesthetic advantages. It is also free from future oil price rises!

I haven't thought a lot about motive power for the New S&D, only that it can't be diesel! That leaves electric and/or steam power. Both have the advantage of being able to be fuelled exclusively from sustainable sources, which will be an essential requirement for all modern transport past the Peak.

I can see PPMs filling some roles on the line, particularly on the branches. Obviously the majority of traffic will be heavy goods and passenger trains, many originating or continuing off the S&D. But some off-peak services may well utilise a PPM or something similar. Another big advantage of these is that they can just as easily run on tram routes, and I suspect there will be plenty of these, urban, interurban and rural, connecting to the S&D in the future!
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