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 24, 2010

psychology, agenda and ownership

Nick Howes pointed me in the direction of an S&D forum today with the email header !!!!!!!

It soon became obvious what his point was!

One post read - (this was regarding this blog!)

MMmmm, the juries out on this one.I have an uneasy discontent with the underlying politics in the blog.But the wishful dreaming is harmless.

LOL! I have no idea what the 'underlying politics' are on this blog. If anybody or any group are radically non-political it's me and the New S&D - in fact the only time I've ever mentioned politics was when I damned the lot of them! But I have found in the past that when people accuse you of something they are often really talking about themselves. And as for 'wishful dreaming' - none of that nostalgic drivel will EVER get past me! This group has always been immersed in cold, hard, unsentimental economic reality, and hopefully always will be. It's funny when someone gets something totally wrong!

So I was left a little speechless when I read this. But then a later post started to give me a clue as to what this was all about. This was from somebody else.

There are some parts of the old S&DJR route that, without extraordinary amounts of money and some serious compulsory purchase orders, are unrecoverable. These are mainly the old routes and station sites that are within the larger towns.So while I applaud the aim of the group the reality is that the original road could never be restored in its entirety, and consideration would need to be given to 'bypass' such locations by constructing new route. I will hazard a guess that such new route building would be as just as expensive as trying to compulsory purchase the old route. The upshot of these costs is that the complete line itself could never earn them back as a profitable service in a millennia of Sundays, and as a community project the costs would simply be too high compared to providing replacement bus services.It's sad, but unfortunately true.

Ignore the initial teaching 'grandma to suck eggs' bit. It qualifies itself in any case and is only really repeating what we've always said. The New S&D, from day one, will be profitable. We have no intention of borrowing a penny to finance construction and shares won't pay a dividend except out of profit. As for talking about 'replacement bus services' this shows the writer hasn't even reached their Peak Oil Moment yet. Bus services using what fuel at what cost and on what useable roads? And how exactly are buses going to carry freight? Everyone has to have a sack of wood or cow sat on their lap? And a replacement for what? Cars?

'It's sad, but unfortunately true'. No, that's just your unthought out opinion. Get a bloody backbone man and stop thinking it's still the 70s!!

Oh dear, two of 'em!

And then, as a final treat, number one comes back with a riposte and suddenly everything becomes clear!

Too true, the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway is part of our archeological/historical heritage, that we should be proud of, and there it will stay, killed by the march of time, unfortunately some people need a serious reality check.

I'm not going to embarass the poster by naming him on this blog, as he's going to have to live this down in the future. But let's at least analyse this reply.

Straight away he's in with '[t]oo true'. Well, again, it's only an unthought out OPINION, not a fact. And then it all comes out ... heritage ... blah, blah, blah ... (portentiously) and there it will stay ... blah, blah, blah ... killed by the march of time ... blah, blah, blah, and then, as a final treat to us all another very revealing bit of self-analysis 'unfortunately some people need a serious reality check'!!!

Yes, it's called the Peak Oil Moment, when you suddenly clearly see that the way forward is rail, and that our comfortable cheap oil fuelled existence is drawing to its natural end! It'll come Backwards of Blandford, and then you'll join us as have many other doubters in the past!

So it all boils down to a rather selfish need to think of the old, destroyed S&D as 'theirs'. It's true that in the run up to closure and its aftermath old disused railways gain a strange patina of charm and decay. I know this because once it appealed to me. The old dinosaurs don't want us to tread on their memories and more importantly on their relics. They HATE the idea of modern freight and passenger trains running up and down the line. Sod the passengers, sod the companies that want their goods delivered quickly, cheaply and efficiently. They seriously think their memories, their patches of land 'where once ran a sabotaged and defeated railway' should remain unfettered by the infrastructure of the 21st century. They want to be free to live with their dreams and nostalgia, crying on a crumbling embankment as the years pass them by.

The sad thing is that we have ALLOWED for this. We want to rebuild the S&D as closely to the original, in terms of infrastructure, and preserve the relics that do remain, providing they are still economically viable. We're not really stamping on anyone's dream, surely just making them clearer and accessible to all?

I know the Lynton and Barnstaple had this problem as well. The dinosaurs need to understand that we also appreciate the heritage aspect of the S&D and will do everything to capture and preserve it. We can blend the modern era and the past, and both can benefit from each other.

I'm sorry if this is a little intense for some of you, but I think people out there need to know that we're not stupid, that we detest 'dreamers' and that we're here for the long haul. The S&D will return and probably a lot quicker than most of us realise. And a few dinosaurs are hardly going to stop us.


WestfieldWanderer said...

Basically they're saying that the idea of the revival of the S&D is a bit far fetched.
Well, yes. It is. Very.
But, then, I remind myself that when my Granny was born in 1886 the idea of flying the Atlantic in a heavier than air machine at twice the speed of sound was a bit far fetched. But when she died in 1989 such a thing was a twice daily event.
The message that these doubters must understand is that 'never' is a self-fulfilling prophesy. And you should never, ever, say 'never.

Sunshiner said...

And of course we're not even talking about some new, untried technology!

The sad thing is that it's the very people that should be all for what we're doing that are trying to talk it down, because that is what they are doing. They may not even understand their motives for this, but I think we do, as laid out in the post.

It's nothing to do with raising enough money, or with finding exotic new technology, it's to do with a 70s mindset that celebrates dead railways and thinks nostalgia is a good thing!

Knoxy said...

They will get the argument within ten years, if not sooner.

if i had oil i would be restricting supply in order to maximise price & profit.

WestfieldWanderer said...

As the old cliche goes: Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Making cheap insults at people because they do not share your point of view is unfortunate and quite possibly counter productive.

Worth a thought maybe.

Mark Dicker.

Sunshiner said...

Agree entirely. Listening to other's points of view is a very valuable way of getting the feel for things.