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!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The Icelandic eruption has grounded all air travel in the UK. Meanwhile the trains run as if nothing is happening.

I travel a lot by air so I do understand the passengers' misery - and I certainly hope they do get away in the next day or so. This is nobody's fault.

But what it does show us that the more we rely on tempramental high technology, the more we depend on things running smoothly regardless of what nature throws at us, the more it becomes clear that what we need is a network of railways that serve every town and village in the UK, and via Eurotunnel connects us to mainland Europe.

Air travel is in terminal decline, but 95% of us haven't realised it yet. We need the alternative options, and they need to be in place before the real crunch comes. We probably only have five years of cheap oil left. Decisions need to be made now, before the problems realy kick in, rather than after it's happened. It'll be too late then. At the very least we need to switch ALL transport investment to rail, we need to quickly restore at least 5000 miles of track and 2000 stations, and that's just a start. If the political parties come knocking at your door this election time please please ask them what their transport policies are, and tell them why you are asking!
Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Toddingtonted said...

I must admit to thinking the very same thing myself this morning when it became apparent that the CAA were taking this (quite rightly) very seriously. The last time this volcano erupted was in the 1820s apparently and it coughed for around 3 years (although not continuously) but we didn't have air travel then and railways were just starting. It does indeed show that railways today are an excellent and more efficient answer to travel in Europe at least, than air travel (and I was a pilot!) so I think in some way this is mother nature's way of telling us to rebuild the S&D! Well done with all your progress on this by the way!