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!

Monday, March 29, 2010

strength in numbers

I've been hearing some disconcerting stuff about various S&D groups and I think it's time all the various parties stepped back from their tiny agendas and take time to set what they are doing in the wider perspective of UK rail renewal. The New S&D is committed to unifying the disparate strands in the S&D 'community', in fact it's enshrined in our constitution. As far as I'm concerned all the groups working to restore and preserve the S&D should commit to eventually combining their resources so that reinstatement of the entire S&D happens sooner rather than later.

The collection at Washford needs to come home at some time, it's out on a limb over at Washford and is only there due to ancient history - 1970s lack of appreciation of railways as an asset. Blame the council at Radstock, not the preservationists at Washford. But we're thirty years on from all that and S&D material belongs on the S&D.

Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone are doing wonders restoring their stations but I'm sure there is far more opportunity to work together on various projects. And the New S&D hopes that Washford, Shillingstone and Midsomer Norton members come along to help when the actual job of rebuilding, at Spetisbury and Midford for starters, begins in earnest.

We should make a point of having an annual joint event at each site in turn with all groups represented, everyone getting together for a social, and show the world the the old, friendly and cool image of the S&D didn't die in 1966 but is alive and well and stronger than ever. I'm up for it - are you?
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David B said...

A joint event sounds like a wonderful idea!

Sunshiner said...

Let's start planning it for 2011. Ideal location would be Midsomer Norton or Shillingstone. Sales and information stalls from the New S&D, SDRHT, NDHT, Gartell and Washford. Perhaps a visiting engine or two, from the other S&D groups and/or an S&D engine from elsewhere. Cab rides for members. Perhaps a mini railway as well. An event for S&D ex-workers. Film shows etc. A big social in the evening. Perhaps a barbecue as well. Disco. Vintage bus laid on to ferry visitors in from nearest big car park (if MN). It would be fantastic and show the rather jaded railway world how well groups can work together.

Would MN, Shillingstone, Gartell and Washford members like to give us their views on this?

Knoxy said...

Make it outside of the football season and i have a better chance of making it. work permitting of course still...!

sounds like a great idea.

Steve said...

What an excellent idea?? Shame i've tried for the last 2 years to get all the groups in one place, on the S&D (ok, this one wasn't going at the start i dont think) at Gartell's during our steam weekend in July. Only Washford & Shillingstone have supported. Washford already booked again for this year. MN i've contacted via website & email but don't here anything.

If people want to come along they are more than welcome, i'm not going to force anyone. Its a friendly, relaxed weekend where not a great deal gets done but the world is put to right several times a day.

Both Shillingstone & Washford have brought the trade stands. No charge to them, we're all in the same boat, railways on or to do with the S&D.

We had on the Sunday last year, the S&D Reuion as well, more of a one off that one i guess. Double headed 6 coach train at the end though. First time since???

As i've knicked a bit on the old blog. The steam weekend is on the 24 & 25 July. Anyone with traction engines, stationary engines, tractors, comercials, m/bikes, displays or trade stands are more than welcome. Anything you would like to show.

Please email myself srodd_sprnet@tiscali.co.uk and i'll send a form in the post.

Cheers Steve