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, September 02, 2010

my love affair with the car

The south of France, 1987.

South Downs 1983, but the national plates on the front give you an idea of how well travelled this Austin Morris JU250 was!

Yesterday, Plymouth, almost giving me second thoughts!

I had an annoying number of anti-car rants submitted as comments a couple of days ago, none of which I allowed through.

No matter what agenda some of you may want to push, this site will NEVER be anti car. Go to some environmentalist or cycling sites if you want to sound off. YOU ARE TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT.

Like most transport enthusiasts I actually love the car. I've owned many, including more than a couple of sports convertibles! Within a few months of passing my test in 1980 I drove all over Europe and loved every second of it. Just a few years ago I took a D reg Escort convertible all the way down to southern Hungary, via Poland and Slovakia. I spent four years as a lorry driver. We still use a car, when absolutely essential!

We've no agenda to 'kill off' the car. The car is dying through the soon to be obvious end of cheap oil. There's nothing we can do to stop it, but hopefully we can make the conversion process as comfortable as possible. The New S&D is very much part of this process, replacing the congested and seriously inefficient road system that has never adequately replaced the old S&D with a modern, community owned, fast and clean railway, taking passengers and freight off the roads and ensuring that once the oil does finally go (probably somewhere between 2025 and 2035, although I'm very optimistic - it could be a lot sooner!) we can not only still get around but do so in a manner that only the railways can manage - quick, clean, sustainable, relaxed.

I think for a few years, as the freight moves rapidly to rail and fewer and fewer people can afford to run a car, there will be a second golden age of the car, with empty (if decaying) roads. I think that those of us that can afford to still be personally mobile should make the most of it - we'll never see the likes again.
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