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 16, 2010

something a little different!

Mock up of a coach but original track!

One of original turnstiles.

Another group of visitors.

The stairs and walls added during world war two. One rail remains under the stairs, the other six to the right of the wall, and the last behind a wall built on the opposite side.

Something very different today - a trip to see the Clifton Rocks Railway. This was a very unusual four track underground funicular in the shadow of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Although it closed in 1934 the track remains and there is now an active group restoring it, with the eventual aim of operating it again on two of the four tracks, connecting with a bus (hopefully eventually tram!) route into the city centre, so fulfilling a genuine transport need.

Although today's trip was only of the top station the society does offer tours to view the whole route, which takes about two hours as there are interesting war time additions to view including air raid facilities and a BBC underground emergency broadcasting station.

If any readers would be interested in joining one of these special tours please email me on leysiner@aol.com - we need 10 to make up a tour of our own, with less we can join a tour with others. Unfortunately there is (for obvious reasons) no wheelchair access for this tour. A donation of £5 each is suggested.
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Anonymous said...

Steve, you say the following ; The stairs and walls added during world war two.

Although it closed in 1934 the track remains.

Daft question but why add stairs etc after it closed in 1934 ????

By the way, we have 'working' cliff car at Bournemouth so there, big rasberries to you mate !!!! lol

Sunshiner said...

The stairs were added to give access to the air raid shelters and the BBC station built during the war. These had to be built over one of the rails on each side because of the limited space available.

I went on the cliff car at Bournemouth on my honeymoon which was fun. But the Bristol one is unique in Britain (there was a similar line in lausanne, Switzerland, now converted to rack operation and extended) as it was built underground so as not to offend the people of Clifton who were, and still are, 'too good for public transport!'

Anonymous said...


Sunshiner said...

Could you elaborate? Couldn't spot anything in that tangle of text!

Anonymous said...

Sorry- the following text at the top DISCLAIMER: We have no links with the New Somerset and Dorset Railway, and never have done.
We are NOT involved with them in ANY way.

Sunshiner said...

LOL! That's good news ...

We've never claimed to have anything to do with them, and we've never worked out why they put it - but it sent LOADS of new traffic to our website and blog as it's the first thing you see on the page. We're very grateful to them for it!

Anonymous said...

well thats one way of looking at it..

Anonymous said...

I can't see why Shillingstone would have anything to do with you as they are purely a heritage site?

Sunshiner said...

Well we certainly didn't court Shillingstone or get involved in any way, so why the disclaimer appeared is a total mystery! But you would think a group claiming to support the S&D would be over the moon that a company had been formed to rebuild the whole line allowing access to heritage groups to any stretch of the route they wanted to operate on. Ho hum.

Never mind, we're in for the long haul, have now started buying sections of the route and the door to Shillingstone and any other S&D groups will always be open. It's enshrined in our constitution and despite being a real transport operation almost all of our current membership have come to us via the heritage movement

And, as I said, blog and web hits did increase after our bit of free advertising on the site!

Wait till the Steam Railway Magazine article hits the streets!

Knoxy said...

And let’s hope the local community get involved to safeguard and protect what we have left of the route, because they are the ones who are going to need it.

I’m sure everyone has noticed how much fuel has gone up lately and my view is that it will continue going one way: upwards.

No need to worry about the odd supermarket built across the trackbed, as I’m sure they won't be slow to act when the realisation that the cheap fuel and energy era is ending.

Villages like Spetisbury must restore their station buildings as they would want them, and make the station once again at the heart of the community. You don't want the indebted state buying just a poxy bus shelter?

When i travel to the seaside from the Midlands i want to lean out the window and enjoy the countryside, like the generation before me once did.
We have the ability in this country to do such a thing, and our over reliance on oil & road will give us the opportunity to do so, and we mustn’t waste it.

Oh sorry, forget all that, we’re all going to have electric cars, aren’t we?

Anonymous said...

Midsomer Norton seem more receptive though.