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!

Friday, April 16, 2010

the beginning of the end?

Results just in from the AA Populus poll -

Subject: March survey results Posted At: 12/04/2010 13:26:31

Impact of current fuel prices - Over a quarter of members (27%) have cut back on car use - Two thirds of members have cut back on spending and car use.

'Current fuel prices'? Prices are still ridiculously low compared to what's coming, but this does rather challenge the standard view that motorists will NEVER give up their cars, regardless of the price of fuel. If the very low cost of fuel we are currently experiencing can have this effect - what does the future hold?

What this means is that we really have to start getting railways back to pre-Beeching levels NOW, and that's just the start. With the terminal decline of road transport we'll need to bring the rails to every village, hamlet, factory, shop and market in the country. Some lines will be standard gauge heavy lines, others standard gauge tramways, others will be narrow gauge or ultra light rail. There's an awful lot of work to do in the next twenty years!
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Anonymous said...

and the funny thing is most people have a total pig headed ignorant unwillingness to look facts in the face. it is not us, but they that live in the fantasy world of eternal personal motoring, ring roads, bypassess and fringe of town super 2 storey high tescos. nick

WestfieldWanderer said...

In spite of motorists' constant whining the simple inconvenient truth is that the cost of motoring today is actually cheaper in real terms than it was in 1988.
If fuel costs were really hurting then I think we'd see a noticeable reduction in traffic speed if not a reduction in traffic volume. Everyday observation shows us that there are still plenty of people who can still "afford" to drive at 90 in their 2-tonne gas guzzlers...

Ian said...

We need to step up the action toward a limited company. I would invest initially and beyond. We are in this at ground level and need to make sure we take off soon before anyone else does it for us.

Ian said...

A note of caution regarding car use falling away though. I started driving 29 years ago in 1981 and petrol is no more expensive in real terms now than it was then. The number of cars on the road has doubled since then.

Sunshiner said...

The main reason car use has doubled is that nearly everyone is forced to use cars - we also travel a lot more than we did 29 years ago. But this is because the price of motoring is so cheap due to the huge subsidies thrown at the road network, most of which would be closed as uneconomic even today if the same rules Beeching implemented with the railways were used!

On the other point we will be setting up the limited company after next Saturday's meeting, as well as incorporating the New S&D as a charity. The limited company will hold the land and eventually construct and operate the railway, the charity will be the public interface and lobbying part of the New S&D.

IanW said...

I will not be able to attend the meeting as I will be in Manchester possibly buying a locomotive (as you do). Feel free to contact me ian_wheaton@hotmail.com with details of promotion of the company etc. I intend to invest in rail and have three lines I want to reinstate, this being one of them. Kind regards, Ian

Knoxy said...

Ian, what scale is the locomotive? 1-1?

i too shall not be at the meeting, again. this time i'm playing trains on the national network.

best of luck with all that is going on and keep posting so i can support from afar....

rail is the future..