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!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the big challenge

Can anybody think of a single railway in the UK that should not be restored in the future? I've racked my brains and can't think of one. I suppose the only genuine candidate would be a line that solely served an industry that no longer exists, with no population centres en route. If you can think of any please post to the comments section.

(The photo above incidentally is of Fittleworth. Just to get you started - the line closed as long ago as 1955, but served the large towns of Petworth and Midhurst. There was also a line from Midhurst to Petersfield which only served a couple of villages, and a further line (closed in 1935) that connected with Chichester. Would any of these not be worth restoring?)
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Anonymous said...

I personally would love to see the missing section of line put back in between Bere Alston and Meldon to complete the Southern south coast route once more. Surely this is a logical move as the old Western region route is becoming more heavily loaded these days. Places like Padstow and Bude and many other places also require reconnecting if they are to flourish once more-the railways brought prosperity to many towns which have now gone into decline since the hated Beeching killed their railways.

Sunshiner said...

The section from Bere Alston to Tavistock is almost certain to be reopened soon, logically the missing section to Meldon should be restored soon afterwards. The most important fact with this route is that it serves as an excellent diversionary route for the sea wall section at Dawlish when that line is closed, which has been happening with increasing frequency. It was a crazy closure, possibly one of the daftest ones under Beeching. It also opens the door to restoration to Bude, Padstow etc.

We've covered this route a few times on this blog. I'm hoping a New S&D type organisation springs up soon to hurry the process along.

Knoxy said...

I went and explored bits of the route through Hawill Junction to Bude when on my chainsaw course to help at Midsomer Norton. That route is ripe for a New S&D type organisation to campaign for its reopening. I'm sure Bude would like the custom a railway would bring, without the road traffic congestion? It isn't a day trip away anymore.