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!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

power ...

Heidelberger Strassenbahnen: Eine Dokumentation uber die Heidelberger Strassen- und Bergbahn AG = Tramways of Heidelberg (Germany) (Archiv) (German Edition)
Tramway and Light Railway Atlas 1996: Germany - Tramway, U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Trolleybus
Schwandl's Tram Atlas Deutschland: Detailed Maps of All German Tram, Light Rail and Underground Networks (English and German Edition)

The Parry People Mover uses a flywheel to store energy with no overhead wires or conductor rail needed.

Modern trams use lightweight catenary.

Classic Southern Region conductor rail - cheap but dangerous!

Heavier style main line catenary - here used on a roadside line in Switzerland.

Anna-Jayne has just found this article which could provide the ideal power system for the New S&D - buried electric supply meaning that the system is totally safe (unlike conductor rails), cheap (no expensive masts) and aestetically pleasing (no external presence). This gets easier as each week passes!

Bombardier to test wireless trams in Augsburg

26 May 2010

GERMANY: The Primove induction-based catenary-free electrification system developed by Bombardier Transportation is to be piloted on the tram network in Augsburg, the manufacturer announced on May 26.

Formally unveiled at Bombardier's Bautzen factory in January 2009, Primove uses cable buried beneath the track to produce a magnetic fields which induces electric current for traction power in pick-up coils mounted underneath the vehicle.

It will be installed on a 0·8 km branch from Augsburg Line 3 which serves the city's exhibition centre. This will enable Bombardier to demonstrate the technical capabilities and electromagnetic compatibility of Primove, which is a potential competitor for Alstom's APS ground-level power supply in locations where overhead electrification is considered undesirable.

'Our expectation for the Primove pilot project is to gain further insights into new developments in energy management and energy savings in tramway operations', said Stadtwerke Augsburg Verkehrs Managing Director Norbert Walter. 'We will also co-operate with the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences'.

Bombardier is currently supplying Augsburg with 27 Flexity Outlook trams. The first arrived last year and deliveries will run to the end of this year.

Posted by Picasa


GMasterH said...

I think that when the S&D re-opens it should use the "Southern" third rail system. This is for several reasons. A, it has a less damaging effect asthetically on the line. It will make it more enjoyable for enthusiasts and look better than pylons that damage the look of our countryside. B, its cheaper. Cheap is good in these economically challenging times. And, for nostaligia, C, the LSWR/Southern was responsible for the track, stations and infrastructure on the old S&D so it is likely that if the line survived the Beching Axe it would have been electrified in this way OR just operated be diesels which is no longer a viable option.

Anna-Jayne Metcalfe said...

Third rail is a tricky one, as there is every reason to believe that the powers that be would not (for safety reasons, presumably) sanction a "new" third rail line running so far outside SR territory. The preferred option for new electrification schemes is OHL, which is of course a bit of a visual pollutant (albeit a highly efficient one operationally). It also goes without saying that third rail and volunteers (of which there are many on the S&D amongst the various groups) do not play at all nicely together.

For local traffic, systems such as the PPM or the induction based system described in the blog post could well be very practical alternatives, of course. Another interesting one is the Alstom APS system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-level_power_supply) which is a third rail system which only energises short sections of rail as a train approaches. This strikes me as a novel (but still not entirely ideal from a safety perspective) approach to the safety problem, albeit with the drawback of greatly increased complexity (and hence cost) on the control side.

One thing is certain: technological advances such as the PPM, APS and induction technology now offer options which quite simply weren't available when the S&D was closed in the 1960s. Given that it is likely to be a significant amount of time before the first stretches of the S&D re-open on a commercial (as opposed to purely heritage) basis, this is not a decision we need to make yet. By the time we do, it is likely that there will be options available to us which we can't even begin to think about.

Knoxy said...

Third rail is only dangerous if you step on it and earth yourself at the same time....

For the southern section of the S&D it would be perfect for feeding into the Southern Railway as it no doubt will once again become?

The World Heritage section from Evercreech to Bath can be wire and third rail free, to be used by wood burners, hybrid PPM's and hopefully a bit of heritage diesel thrash, until it all runs out of course! Not to mention some heritage coal fired steam....

Are those thoughts allowed?

Anna-Jayne Metcalfe said...

Not only allowed but welcomed. :)

For commercial services from Blandford southwards, third rail is not only practical but (at least today) probably the obvious choice, given the existing network it would feed into.

However, once you start approaching Shillingstone, third rail obviously starts looking less attractive as the line would be shared with volunteers, so it's worth being open to other options.

However, that's all for the future. The important thing is to plan to get the rails back first, I feel.