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!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

the new wave of S&D DVDs begins here

First Take's excellent 2010 DVD 'The Somerset and Dorset Railway' is now available through the New S&D. Remember ALL profits go towards restoring the line.

This is possibly the best S&D DVD yet. At 90 minutes it has plenty of time to give the background history of the whole route, including the branches. It also visits all the main stations and iconic locations en route, both through excellent archive footage (some Ivo Peters, some new) and present day visits. Midsomer Norton, Shillingstone and Washford are also featured - Geoff Akers is as eloquent as usual talking about the line on the up platform at Midsomer Norton.

One of the best bits for me was an in depth look at the importance of Bournemouth West, and the holiday traffic from the Midlands and the North, to the development of Bournemouth as a major resort. The S&D created Bournemouth, to a much greater extent than the LSWR, yet Bournemouth West is almost forgotten today.

But the best thing about this DVD is that, for the first time, it's looking also at the future of the S&D, and not just in the form of a couple of tiny heritage groups. It's almost taken for granted throughout that the S&D has an important role in the future as a vital trunk route, and that consequently the line will be rebuilt. The message is getting across and what was once considered a fringe or even impossible idea is now becoming more and more mainstream thinking.

Remember that by buying this DVD from us the profits will go directly to actually restoring the line as a proper community and trunk route for our children and grandchildren!
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