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 15, 2010

midford - day one!

Posters go up so that walkers and cyclists can understand what's going on. Within minutes we'd had people showing a great interest in what we were doing and leaflets were very popular!

The very first pieces of undergrowth fall victim to the long handled shears.

Will from Wells tramples down some undergrowth.

After an hour and a half a lot of the station building area has been cleared.

So the very first day's work party at Midford has come and gone. Being a Wednesday afternoon only me and Will Dowling could make it. First job was to put up posters at a couple of strategic sites explaining what we were doing at Midford. I then walked the whole length of the line we own to the south end of the Long Arch Bridge. Then back to the station where I tried to work out where the station building and the lean to oil store were situated. Will turned up at this stage and we started clearing the undergrowth where the station building used to stand, and got a lot cleared in a very short time.

Passers-by were 100% in support of what we were doing. Amazingly the very first walker was a member of both Washford and Shillingstone!

There's a lovely atmosphere up at Midford and the scenery is stunning. I'm hoping that I can get up most weeks to progress clearance and to sign up new members.

We both parked up by the old goods yard south of the station, there's a grass verge with space for about 4 cars and it's then just a 3 minute walk back across the viaduct to the station. There's restricted parking at the Hope and Anchor, but hopefully in time we can rent or buy a few spaces there.

The platform is in very good condition and the restoration should be quite straightforward providing the funds can be raised. We will be putting in planning permission soon, probably for the whole site, with the oil store being built first, so there will be a place to store tools and perhaps some sales items, and also be a shelter when the weather turns nasty!

All in all a fanatstic day at a fantastic place, which should soon be restored to its rightful place in railway iconography - right at the top!
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