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 03, 2010


It's not often I stumble on a tramway or railway that I don't now about, but this was a genuine surprise in Barcelona. Now Barcelona has recently built an excellent new tram system, in two discrete parts, but this is a survival from the original Barcelona tram network, which was unusual in that it ran double-deckers. In fact until quite recently it was, amazingly, the ONLY tramway in mainland Spain.

It runs for about a mile from Ave. Tibidabo to the foot of the funicular that continues up to the funfair at the top. We caught it in the rain on a Sunday afternoon, and despite running services in convoy the trams were packed!

I would of course prefer to see a modern tramway, but this does serve a genuine transport need and has done so since 1901. Hopefully in the future it will once again be connected to a city wide tramway system.

(To those who complain when I add foreign pieces to this blog, remember that a search for 'Tibidabo' will bring people who have no idea that the New S&D exists to this blog!)

More info (from Wikipedia)

The Tramvia Blau (Catalan for "blue tramway") is one of Barcelona's three tram systems. It is a 1.276 kilometres (0.793 mi) long heritage streetcar line serving a hilly area of the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district between the terminus of FGC Barcelona Metro L7 and the Funicular del Tibidabo.
The Tramvia Blau is operated by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) but it is not part of Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (ATM) integrated fare network. Tickets must be purchased from the tram conductor.
The Tramvia Blau is one of only two first generation tramways to survive in Spain, along with the Tranvía de Sóller on the island of Majorca.


The line was built at the instigation of Sr.Salvador Andreu, who was building a residential project around the axis of the Avenida Tibidabo, and was inaugurated in 1901. The line connected at Plaça Kennedy with trams of Barcelona's city system, but was independently owned. The line's own distinctive blue livery soon led to it becoming known as the Tramvia Blau.
The line suffered several changes in 1922 and 1958.
In 1954, line 7 of the Barcelona Metro was opened to Avinguda Tibidabo station under Plaça Kennedy, providing another connection to central Barcelona. However in the 1960s the city trams were withdrawn from Plaça Kennedy, cutting the Tramvia Blau off from the city network.
In 1971 the remaining tram routes of the Tranvías de Barcelona company were closed. However, the separately owned Tramvia Blau remained in operation. It continued in private ownership until 1979, when it was taken over by the city, who continued to operate it. Between 1971 and 2004, when the second generation Trambaix and Trambesòs lines opened, it was the only tram route in the city.



Typical Tramvia Blau street track
The Tramvia Blau is 1.276 kilometres (0.793 mi) long, climbing a vertical distance of 93 metres (305 ft) at a maximum gradient of 8%. It is constructed to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) gauge and is double track, apart from single track stub terminals at each terminus. It runs in the Avinguda Tibidabo throughout, and is not segregated from other traffic.
The line's depot is accessed by some 100 metres (330 ft) of single track, which is not used in passenger service. The depot branch joins the main line near its midpoint, adjacent to the bridge carrying the Avinguda Tibidabo over the Ronda de Dalt.
The line serves the following stops:
  • Plaça Kennedy
  • Román Macaya
  • Josep Garí
  • Lluís Muntadas
  • Font del Racó
  • Plaça del Doctor Andreu
  • Plaça del Doctor Andreu
  • Carrer número 15
  • Adrià Margarit
  • Bosch i Alsina
  • Josep Mª Florensa
  • Plaça Kennedy

Tram fleet

Cars 2, 7 and 129 posed in front of the depot in 2005. Car 7 is in its pre-rebuilt condition, as can be seen by comparison with the image at the head of this article.
The line is operated with a fleet of seven historic tram cars:
21901The only survivor of a class of four trams built for the opening of the Tramvia Blau. Is operable, but only used on special occasions.
Tramvia Blau.JPG5,8,101904Members of a further class of six four-wheeled trams built for service on the Tramvia Blau. The cars are double-ended, with two doors on each side with manually operated gates. Each car has a capacity for 32 seated passengers, and has a maximum speed of 13 kilometres per hour (8.1 mph).
Old tram at Barcelona pic03.JPG6,71904Members of the same class as 5, 8 and 10, but rebuilt in 2005 to 2006. The rebuilt cars retain their original layout and propulsion, with the addition of hydraulic brakes.
Old tram at Barcelona pic09.JPG1291906Open car originally built for the Barcelona city system. Restored in 1986, using the truck from Tramvia Blau tram 9, of the same class as 5-8 and 10. Painted in the traditional red of the Barcelona city system rather than the blue of the Tramvia Blau.

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