Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Monday, May 03, 2010
doubt, localisation, squeeze
Doubt - I really do think that the US military's bombshell that Peak Oil will really begin to hit by 2015 with a 10 million barrels of oil a day shortfall has completely changed the game. The days of talk of air expansion, road development, heritage railways and lack of funds for tram schemes are over. Dead. Finished. So where does the doubt come in? I do wonder if we should have started the New S&D five, or even ten, years ago. That would have allowed us to build the team and organisation much earlier, giving us even more of a head start. But we still are ahead of everyone else. The S&D WILL be rebuilt, I've never had doubts about that, but we need to do it PROPERLY. This is really an appeal for everyone who reads this blog (now normally over 200 of you every day!) to get INVOLVED. Send money, join, join the committee, become an officer, press our case wherever you are.
Localisation - an inevitable consequence of the soon-to-be-upon-us energy crisis will be that everything and everybody will need to travel more economically - fewer miles where possible and by rail everywhere. This will mean that a whole range of new businesses will spring up to supply the goods and services that we currently buy from all around the world. Pic 2 is of a cheese press in Cheddar today, notice that it was made locally at Wincanton (on the S&D of course!) And no doubt it could still do the same job today and with no energy inputs. This will become much more commonplace.
Squeeze. How the energy crisis will hit us as individuals is anybody's guess, but I imagine we'll first notice the relentless rise in prices of petrol and diesel at the pump, coupled with the rising costs of gas and electricity. More and more of us will use our cars less and less, and where decent public transport is in place we'll abandon them altogether.
In Cheddar today it was sad to see that everybody was coming in by road. Cheddar is one of those remarkable places that are currently not served by rail. Stupid, as their line previously also served the large communities of Shepton Mallet and Wells, as well as linking two GWR main lines! The line will of course be restored in the future, and I suspect a tramway will also run up to the gorge and even perhaps through it, keeping the tourist trade going.