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, December 22, 2010

media frenzy ... and more

Paul Perton has offered to handle the media for us from now on. We've deliberately kept a low profile up to now as we didn't want to bombard the press before things started happening, but with Midford now under our belt there certainly won't be a shortage of hard news! Even without a media officer we have had quite a bit of coverage in the railway press already. Paul is a media professional in South Africa but distance has never been a problem for fans of the S&D!

I think the most important thing to stress over the next few years is that the New S&D is a sustainable transport organisation about as far removed from the public's notion of 'railway preservation' as possible. Even a lot of railway types still haven't quite understood what we're about, despite the abundance of information available on this site.

We are already generating a fair amount of hard news, which is always of more interest than musings on what we plan to do in the future etc.

On a related point we will be contacting all the local authorities, parish councils, MPs and main businesses along the route in the new year to let them know our plans. Phase 2 of the S&D restoration should begin in earnest in 2011. A higher media profile and networking with the relevant people along the route will be a big part of that.
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1 comment:

Alasdair MacCaluim said...

Great news! Good to see things progressing.