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, August 28, 2010

yet more swiss lessons!

The view from our hotel room. This is the east end of the Gare Cornavin, Geneva's main railway station. The trams are running to and from the United Nations building.

Superb new high capacity tram on the new route to Meyrin.

Meyrin's main tram 'station', unusually a terminus rather than a loop.

Trams waiting to return to the city from Meyrin.

Back from Geneva. As always a trip to Switzerland reinforces just how far behind we are in the UK.

Geneva once had a tramway network of 75 miles, running numerous interurban lines into France as well as serving the city. Incredibly the main station at Cornavin lost its trams in 1965 and for thirty years there was just a short 5 mile line south of the Rhone serving the far less important station of Eaux Vives on a route from Moillesulaz to Carouge.

Fortunately this section of line survived until more sensible and forward looking opinions prevailed and the trams were reintroduced to Cornavin in 1995. Since then there have been several extensions, and last year the brand new line to Meyrin opened on 12 December 2009. The line to CERN should be open by the end of 2010. And it doesn't stop there - there are several more extensions planned and it's perfectly possible that the new tramway route mileage will far exceed that of the old system. New routes are planned to go into France as many people live in France and work in Geneva.

Travelling on the Meyrin tramway last week I got, for the first time, a real sense of the end of the car age as we passed queueing pollution spewing cars jammed on the roads as we whizzed past them at high speed. What Geneva does today everywhere wil be doing over the coming decades.

For anyone who doubts that the second Golden Age of Rail is upon us - visit Geneva!
Posted by Picasa

No comments: