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!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

others' doings

I am off to Switzerland until next Wednesday so there won't be any posts for a week or so.

Moorland & City Railways 'MCR' is pleased to announce that subject to the ongoing renewal and upgrade work currently underway on the Leekbrook Junction to Cauldon Lowe line and final inspection by the ORR that it should be in a position to return the line to passenger traffic for a celebration event on the 13th & 14th of November 2010.MCR was specifically setup to purchase the line from Stoke on Trent to Cauldon Lowe for commercial freight traffic. Given the generally better than expected condition of the infrastructure this opportunity has arisen to allow a passenger operation to be promoted ahead of the freight flows.

In collaboration with the Churnet Valley Railway (1992) PLC 'CVR' MCR are planning an intensive 3 train service over the weekend of the 13/14 November 2010 featuring some interesting steam motive power. The weekend of the 20/21 November 2010 will see a repeat of this with the addition of diesel locomotives to recreate a 1960's theme. This new section of line will see the CVR expand operations from an 11 mile round trip to a 27 mile round trip.

The MCR line closed to passenger traffic on the 30th September 1935, to freight traffic on the 8th February 1988 and has seen only a selection of trains over the weekend of the 16/17th April 1994 with the final charter running on the 28th May 1994. Since then it has remained mothballed.

The route comprises 8 miles of steeply graded railway line offering truly magnificent views of the Moorlands unseen for many years. Steam and diesel locomotives will be working almost at full capacity to pull 6 & 8 coach trains up gradients ranging from 1:40 to in 1:59. The summit of the line at Ipstones is a staggering 1063 feet above sea level. These gradients will give the opportunity to see and hear the locomotives in action working hard.

Locomotives currently booked for this truly amazing event include (and subject to availability) 71000 'Duke of Gloucester', Stanier Mogul 42968, 8f No. 48624, Large Prairie No. 5199 and a surprise visitor as yet unseen in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Diesel locomotives will include Class 37 37075, Class 33/1 33102 and a return visit by a truly local class of diesel loco. These will be joined by the CVR resident Class 104 DMU.Pre booked tickets for the event will be available via the CVR website closer to the event at http://www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk/. Special tickets will be available by pre booking only to ride on the first passenger train over the complete line that being the 09:55 ex Froghall to Cauldon Lowe on the Saturday which will be hauled by 71000 Duke of Gloucester.

NATIONAL PRESERVATION FORUM SPECIAL Saturday 13th November 2010The special will depart from Froghall station at 19:15. The train will be 12 coaches (approx 450 ton train!) and hauled by 8F No. 48624 and banked by 5MT No. 42968 for the run up the 8 miles of 1 in 40 - 1 in 59 gradients to Cauldon Lowe.

The train will run non stop from Froghall - Cauldon and the same from Cauldon - Froghall. The train will arrive back at Froghall at 21:12. There will be a train leaving Froghall at 21:30 to allow passengers to travel back to Cheddleton if that is where they started their day from.

There will be food and drink available at Froghall until the special leaves at 19:15, there will also be plenty of beer and nibbles on the train.The prices for the special are;£10 on the night for the special only£5 extra if you have a day rover ticket.

Free if you have a weekend rover ticket.

Tickets will be available via an online ordering system that is due to be launched on the 1st September 2010 and will also be available on the day. I will advise of the link to this website once it is available.

The CVR and MCR are delighted to confirm that the LNER Beavertail Observation Car No. 1719E will be visiting the line for the duration of the event.

Special thanks go to Railway Vehicle Preservations Limited and the Great Central Railway for making the visit possible.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Closer to home, Steve, MSN SHOULD (note the capitals!) be 'reopening' to the public on Sept 11&12, albeit a very much smaller scale - just D1120 ('Number 10') pushing the Queen Mary brake van uphill towards Chilc tunnels (about 2/5 of a mile). We were aiming for Aug 29 but a few things are not yet ready. Not that I have told you so! JW