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

you couldn't make it up

As ash continues to fill the skies above us could we have hoped for a better glimpse into the future? There's just been a brilliant TV report from Bristol airport, with the airport staff flying kites or running up and down the runway doing an impromptu mini marathon. Smiles all round.

We took a car trip yesterday into town with empty skies above us and potholes big enough to contain baby elephants below us.

The silly troubles at Shillingstone paled into total insignificance as the whole of Europe seemed to shift twenty years into the future with crumbing roads and airports reverting back to peace and quiet. Once again Mother Nature showed us that we can't build a complex global society that works seamlessly for 100% of the time. And although the emphasis has been on passenger delays no-one seems to have yet considered the knock-on effect of the cessation on air freight or indeed the airmail service. We may think this won't affect us, but it will.

And whilst the planes are grounded most passengers are trying to switch to rail, but finding that the capacity so cruelly and stupidly reduced by Beeching and his crew can't handle all the extra traffic, leaving them stranded. We do need a fast European high speed network to fill the gap as air travel winds down, and we also need a huge expansion of rail to every town and village in Britain as the roads empty. This air shut down, which is probably still in its early stages, will give a huge impetus to the expansion of rail Europe wide. Are you all ready to play your part?
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