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!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

on our doorstep

A real gem locally is the very under publicised Bristol Harbour Railway, which runs from the SS Great Britain on Bristol's harbourside to the Create Centre. In 2011 it should re-extend to the newly refurbished Industrial Museum. This line has previously hosted a Parry People Mover. It's not open every weekend but the 2010 timetable is here.

This line could also become a very valuable transport link in the future. It could re-extend southwards to join the Portishead line - it's less than half a mile to rejoin the network over a bridge that saw trains (and heavy, steam-hauled ones at that!) as recently as 1996. It could also extend into the centre of Bristol tramway style, connecting with the new Bristol tramway system. This would then give a surely soon-to-be-reopened Portishead branch TWO traffic flows, one to Bristol Temple Meads for longer-distance travellers and freight and one to the city centre via the new developments on the Harbourside south, serving commuter flows. Tram-trains, Parry People Movers, conventional electric multiple units and, of course, steam hauled heritage trains could all operate the routes from Portishead to Bristol, complementing the current heavy freight use of this very important route.


Ben said...

Whilst I have to say running from Portishead to the docklands would be extremely advantageous, I'm afraid the bridge you mention over the Avon (technically the New Cut) is not in very good condition at all, and would probably require significant repairs if not replacing. Also to link up with that line on the existing alignment would require a tight curve under Brunel Way.
A better idea would be a new bridge and a new alignment.

Sunshiner said...

Whatever it takes! I did notice that the current bridge became unsuitable for heavy trains in 1996, another 14 years in the Bristol air probably hasn't done it a lot of good either!

A new bridge and alignment is fine by me!

Anonymous said...

how about an slight alternative on the portishead line, involving using most of the current formation until a point in the ashton area, befre tunnelling, creating an underground station in the centre, and an underground station at temple meads, and then continuing underground to a point to pick up the bristol-radstock-frome line, creating a cross bristol link to two areas of population and a valuable commuter link, a mainline connection for stock movements could be maintained at ashton with allowences for the portbury coal/car trains

Chris Warren said...

Guys, please remember you are dealing with Bristol and it's wonderful Council. They'd rather throw millions of ratepayers money at a private monopoly bus operator, Firstgroup, to operate a 'Bendybus' network which will be expensive and under used because people prefer to use rail!!