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, April 12, 2010

shillingstone progress

We now have an official Shillingstone contributor so expect a lot more on this exciting project to build a loco works and a long length of running line on the Dorset section of the S&D. Nothing from them yet, but expect news very soon.

It certainly seems to be buzzing down at Shillingstone and a clear vision of an operating railway, funded in part by the outshopping of tender locomotives at their innovative Highbridge New Works, has now been firmly established in my view.

If you've been considering joining the Shillingstone group but putting it off, perhaps due to their earlier ideas of just rebuilding a half mile or so of line with no running trains and no obvious income, now is the time to get involved in a scheme that seems to have transformed itself over recent months and now looks set to become a major player in the heritage world nationally and the tourist world locally.

Go Shillingstone!!
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Anonymous said...

I think any member opposing the superb idea of a major loco overhaul facility at Shillinstone should be banned from the project for life and have their membership rescinded. There is no room for narrow minded back peddling to a few brainless nobody's here, nor would any other heritage railway welcome such interference to an established plan that has already been agreed with the Council, and was the whole basis for the NDRT being allowed the lease in the first place! Just imagine telling the Miid Hants you don’t agree with their new bolier shop and try and stop it happening by jumping up and down like some spoilt child! or trying to stop the Avon Valley extending to Bath, because you fear it would damage the tranquiltiy of the cyclepath!!! I mean, what planet are these nobody's on? and how were they allowed to get involved in the project in the first place? can someone tell me? Indeed, many people may not realise that the sustainable restoration works, is the only viable long term income available to the Shillingstone project as they are not allowed to run passsenger trains as part of the (current) lease arrangements. What do we say now, oh sorry North Dorset Council, we’ve allowed a few nobody’s to change the entire direction of the project which we agreed with you in the first place. What do you think of that?!!!!!!!

Sunshiner said...

Sorry, wasn't aware that any members at Shillingstone did oppose it! What's their reasoning, and how come none of them have given any input to this blog?

Come on, what's your views on this fantastic project?

As all the funding for Shillingstone hinges on the loco shed I can't see how anyone would or could oppose it in any case as it could kill off the project - which is just about as far removed from what all of us want as it's possible to be.

Perhaps you've been infiltrated by lefties, car-fans, road nutters and hippies!

Anonymous said...

I understand the first poster's sentiment although he may be a little harsh on the individuals involved. Reading about these wonderful plans for Shillingstone and the detailed planning is all very well, but this has not been communicated very well at all. Thus, energetic and fruitful work behind the scenes is seen as lack of communication, inactivity and lack of vision or direction. With the communication sorted (and I believe the point has been well taken on board) then these problems should cease.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the point of admitting that communication is a problem hs been taken onboard, but that is not the root of the problem. The problem is that 5-7 people associated with the project, will see through all commonsense, talking and reason and will continue to plug away making derogatory comments about Keith Botomley with blind single minded determination to bring him and any supporters of the business plan down. They will loose lots of members, make themselves look stupid and alert the governing landlord, the council that we are a bunch of straw sucking infighting idiots who couldnt run a business let alone a railway if our lives depended on it.

Sunshiner said...

Intestingly none of the antis has made any sort of comment justifying their actions, or even giving any background. I challenged one by email today and he totally bottled out like a baby.

Not one comment. Perhaps they're illiterate or out driving hotrods round some children's playground in the depths of Dorset?

Anonymous said...

quite right, all they can manage to write (if you can decipher what they're saying that is)is to constantly attack Keith Bottomley. It would be interesting to see how they think they're going to run a professional railway project and come up with a sustainable business plan that will bring in more than ice cream and book sales from cyclists, when we're not allowed to run passenger trains. Before Ian Harrington arrived for instance, the only track in the platform (which incedentally was that which Keith had procured from 53809's visit to Bath Green Park) was laid 2 feet below platform level instead of the national standard of 3 feet! Nick

Anonymous said...

A quick reply to 'anonymous' re incorrect track level.
When I was at Shillingstone, I pointed out that the track panel [which was laid quite a few times!!] was far too high on the formation.
There was a small company with a JCB who were hired to remove ALL the 40+ years of clay, leaves and general shit from the trackbed, and I asked the driver to go to the original clay bed [where the datum line of brickwork at bottom of the platform is apparent] THAT being the CORRECT level at which to start the formation. However, because of a 'stitch up' I was asked to leave the project, and hey presto! ALL that dirt was REPLACED onto the gap between the platforms because someone said I had gone 'Too deep' ! And then the panels were relaid [again!]Well, not be smug, but my knowledge was vindicated, as I knew it WOULD be, but all to no avail - I remain[ed] 'persona non grata' for various trivial and bitchy reasons.
I never did get an apology, much less asked to rejoin the project, but then that's the present incumbents for you! Sour grapes? You bet your sweet ass it is! In my books, right is might, and I WAS right.
So, before anyone gets on their high horse, you would be well advised to seek the FACTS before making any derogatory comments re ME.
I have already taken the board to task over alledged comments of theft of certain building material, for which I was given an express permission to take, in lieu of money , which I was quite happy to forgo in return for use of my work van to collect said materials from Christchurch on several ocassions . Incidentally, these materials were due to be dumped anyway! So there was NO cost whatever to the Shillingstone project - all the stuff was free.
OK, I've said my piece, and it needed to be said for the 'record'. I am NOT the kind of person to be shat upon, and just meekly take it.
Anyway, regardless - I hope that the site will become a viable and interesting point of focus for visitors, and that the larger picture of a NEW and integrated Somerset & Dorset railway will emerge especially as much energy, time and labour has thus far been expended by many, not least Steve Sainsbury, who cant be faulted for his fiery enthusiasm and wish to see beyond the immediate.
Simon Ellison. [ex mainline P/W & RO2 railman]

Anonymous said...

Yes Simon, you were right to have gone down deep. I understand that the council laid a pipeline down the trackbed years ago, thats why theres no trace of original ballast through the station. A good p-way should have a foot plus, of formation ballast, or whatever consistency, under the sleepers. As at midsomer norton, the BR days height from platform to rail head was 2 foot 8 inches, but Ian and I decided the national standard of 3 feet would be best; a) to avoid any insisted upon modern compliance by HMRI and b) to lessen the gap of passengers stepping up into Mark 1 coaches.
I was not having a go at you. Nick