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!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

bloody know-alls!

Take a look at the picture above. It's a very nice atmosphere shot of the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, in Wisbech. This is from the book 'The Wisbech and Upwell Tramway' by Chris Hawkins and George Reeve, published in 1982.

1982 was close to rail's lowest ebb in the UK. Even many rail enthusiasts fell for the con, others simply loved the 'romance' of closed lines and really believed that once closed a line would stay closed forever - regardless of the future of roads!

The interesting part of the above picture is the caption. Not sure if you can view it clearly in your browser, but the last line of text reads - Rails in the street are now largely unknown in this country and their like will never be seen again.
Hmmm. Just a few years later rails started appearing in the streets of Manchester, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Nottingham and Croydon. And in a few months time not only will the streets of Porthmadog contain rails, but will see regular, daily STEAM trains running down 'em.

So when someone tells you 'The S&D will never reopen' remember the absolute certainty of the Wisbech and Upwell statement above. Not only will rails in the street become commonplace throughout the UK, of all guages, but many industrial concerns will run street lines connecting the factory to the network, most towns above 100,000 population will have street-based tramways, smaller towns and villages will have ultra-light rail, interurban street and roadside tracks will litter the countryside and the street railway will become more common than it ever was.

And, of course, the S&D will not only be fully restored but will probably have a dozen of more street-running tramways and light railways connecting to it, not to mention the industrial lines!

I even think the Wisbech and Upwell tramway will be restored!
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1 comment:

Jay said...

This is Elm Road in Wisbech.
Tramway disappeared in 1966 & never returned, in fact we lost both railway stations with our Tramway!
Jay Turner
Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.