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!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

transport madness

Blot on the landscape - and what for?

How modern transport should blend in!

My in box has been full of stuff about the laughable Cambridge Guided Busway. This extraordinary white elephant has still not been opened, and costs are still spiralling. Will we ever know what this idiocy was ever about? Or perhaps it's just a very long-winded way of preserving the trackbed without letting the Peak Oil cat out of the bag?

The simple fact is that this piece of essential transport infrastructure needs to be rebuilt as, preferably, a heavy railway or, at the very least, a modern interurban tramway. The cost would be around 30%/15% and ridership would be far higher. Fuel use would be around 25% of that for the buses and who knows what the maintenance costs are going to be?

This is why cold hard economics needs to be applied to transport investment rather than agenda-laden posturing by idiotic politicians who are desperate to keep Peak Oil below the radar.

We all know that buses are considered to be the most unpopular form of public transport. It is almost impossible to prise people out of their cars to use them, whereas many car drivers are happy to switch to trams which are seen as modern, clean, fast and efficient. Buses even try to disguise themselves as trams to tempt people out of their cars by being given smart modern lines, but it won't work. Passengers need the added security of a FIXED route to convince them that the new transport system is here for the foreseeable future, rather than buses which use pubic roads. Okay, the concrete tram-like tracks of the guided busway suggest a similar commitment, but we can see that they are just a stage towards modern transport - ie the eventual replacement of the method of propulsion to overhead wire (trolleybus fashion) and the eventual replacement of concrete by steel rail (giving a 75% fuel, efficiency and cost saving). But why not just build the railway/tramway in the first place?

People locally HATE this monstrosity and will boycott it until they get their trams or trains. I fully expect to be reporting on the replacement of this joke by a modern tramway or railway within ten years.

The extraordinary thing is that this lunacy is being threatened on two other essential rail routes - Fareham-Gosport and Luton-Dunstable!!
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Steve said...

Here, Here... Living in Southampton, our nearby towns of Fareham and Gosport will be losing its old track bed which also still has it's track in place for 85% of the route and into a guided bus-way, many locals are already saying they will be boycotting it and will continue to use their cars till a light tram/rail service is brought back. Also Dunstable to Luton Rail Link which also has it's trackbed in places but will be taken over by a guided bus-way... so there are 2 more bus ways that you may wish to look and laugh at.

Knoxy said...

I seriously doubt when the economics of the Cambridge busway come home to roost, if and when it ever opens, that there will be many more busways?

Anonymous said...

this is just another ploy by the lumbering powermongers left over from the marples era doing their best to continue to fragment up heavy rail at any cost for their road lobby greed before the tide turns on them.

Knoxy said...

Absolutely, but the tide is turning nevertheless. Let them go ahead. These busways will prove the point, that light rail & heavy rail is the answer....
At least the routes will be safeguarded!