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, June 05, 2010

cradle to cradle

There's a bit of a buzz about Cradle to Cradle - a concept that suggests that everything we make - fron chairs to carpets to rolling stock - can be built using reuseable components giving products essentially an infinite life. This would quickly solve environmental constraints, though not of course energy ones! I hope that it's possible to use this style of design in creating the New S&D.
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George H said...

I think a new batch of 7F's would be a good idea. Unique to the S&D, their parallel boilers are easier to maintain and their breaking ability is second to none. A new batch of 5 complete with spares for the existing two would be nice. Of course bring them up to date, with roller bearings and air brakes etc... Ordered now they would be ready for the S&D when it is re-opened. If they were completed before then they could be put to use across the country until they were needed.

Anonymous said...

This is hardly a new concept. For example, when I was much younger and say, your kettle stopped working, you'd simply buy a new element for it. Nowadays you throw the whole kettle away and buy a new one!

Anonymous said...

flights of fantasy.....
I wonder if we will ever see a steam loco on the mainline hauling a train of goods vehicles for commercial useage?
I'm thinking of 12T ventilated vans, open wagons and of course all fully fitted for safety with a guard's van at the rear.
There MUST be industries [small one's that would have capacity for wagon loads]for which ORIGINAL freight wagons could be utillised.
I know the main difficulties would be operational i.e. slotting slow trains into todays frenetic fast system. Coal, and more importantly, watering facilities for the loco/s, would need to be arranged BUT surely this is not insurrmountable?
Personally, I will never think of steam returning properly on the main line until I see this REAL freight train doing the work it was designed for - wonder if this could ever happen?

Sunshiner said...

Hardly fantasy! Unless the entire rail network of the future is electrified, including all sidings, industrial lines, light railways etc then what other option will there be? Whilst PPM type vehicles could operate passenger services on lightly used unelectrified lines freight will surely need large locomotives? And they will hardly be diesel! But the new steam locomotives will really need to be designed to burn wood, or some other renewable fuel, rather than coal, as all transport systems of the future wil have no option but to run on renewable and sustainable energy.

The fantasy would be diesel locos still running in a few decades time! Photograph them (and the road network!) whilst you still can!

Anonymous said...

Whilst I remember.
The Sturminster Newton debacle about homes [rabbit hutches] being built on the former S&D cutting is FALSE.
There are NO such abortions built [!] on the cutting....this, you will find, is STILL open and free of buildings of any kind, as the builders supply merchants, Snooks, still own and operate the yard ON TOP of the old cutting, and to the best of my knowledge, Snooks are NOT planning to sell their yard anytime soon - so! not quite so bad as first believed. The 'homes' are to the left of the side of the cutting, looking into Snooks yard from what used to be the road [Bath Rd] overbridge adjacent to yards perimiter fence.

Anna Metcalfe said...

I believe DB Schenker is keeping at least one eye on the possibility of reintroducing wagonload freight (last seen under the "Speedlink" branding in BR days) to the network. However, given the decimation of the network during the 1960s and the odd way our transport network is priced there are real difficulties with economics, pathing and the availability of suitable loading/unloading facilities at convenient locations for customers.

Those are however problems for which solutions will be found (and probably far quicker than any of us might expect!) when there is sufficient incentive from rising oil prices etc.

Time will tell, but I would be very surprised if a future wagonload freight operation looked anything like the pick-up freights of the past. What traction will be used is also a matter of (rather unproductive at this stage, I'm afraid) speculation.

Of course what ultimately matters is whether it gets lorries off the roads, not what the traffic looks like. :)