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!

Monday, September 13, 2010

before its time

Just a slight excursion away from the S&D today. The Weston Clevedon and Portishead Railway has had an excellent DVD made about it by 1st Take, who have produced such a brilliant S&D DVD recently.

I've friends at Wick St Lawrence and still haven't quite made out where the line crossed the road there, but coming into Bristol airport you get an excellent view of part of the route!

The DVD is excellent, being a potted history of this most enigmatic of lines and at 90 minutes is superb value for money. Whilst not as upbeat about eventual restoration of this route as it is about the S&D, personally I can see a restored and extended WCPR as an essential part of 21st century transport. It needs to run as a tramway through Weston (like in the original plans) and perhaps use street running in other places, but it would be an easy reinstatement in the future with no real engineering works except to bridge the river at Wick St Lawrence. Hopefully it could connect with the GWR branch at Portishead and continue right into the centre of Bristol via the Bristol Harbour Railway. It is this type of rural light railway that will become a backbone to our modern transport network in the future, connecting with the heavy network where it can.

The DVD is available from the website, as is the S&D one. Sorry if you tried to order the S&D one yesterday, our initial stock sold out in hours but new stock is on its way so you can order again now!
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