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!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Just a quickie to let you all know that Midford is now ours! We now have all the paperwork including originals going back to 1895.

We'll shortly apply for planning permission (hopefully just a formality) to rebuild the station building, signalbox etc. We'll start workparties very soon to start cosmetic restoration of the site.

Fantastic news and the first step towards restoration of the whole line as a freight and passenger transport gateway for the 21st century. The future starts today ...
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

pre-bratislava update

Sorry I've been rather quiet over recent weeks - business has been busier than ever!

I'm off to Bratislava tomorrow for five days so thought I'd just round up things.

The transfer of ownership of Midford should be completed within a week or so.

Right Lines 2 will go out the week after next. Unfortunately I underestimated the amount of ink I'd need so it's only half printed! I now have the ink but not the time!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

right lines 2

The second issue of the New S&D magazine, RIGHT LINES, is now finished and will hopefully be sent out over the next few days. Still only four pages I'm afraid - if any of you would like to take on the role of editor the job's available! Hopefully within a year or so this will become a good A4 glossy magazine packed with info, pictures and even adverts! A good magazine - and ideally I'd like us to produce the BEST magazine in the railway world - is a great way of gaining new members and converts. It can even turn in a profit. So if any of you would like to get in on this ground floor opportunity please email me at leysiner@aol.com or phone 0117 3738973.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

getting the message out

Somerset and Dorset at Midford   Railways of Midford

The current Steam Railway Magazine has almost a whole page just on our plans for Midford. This has resulted in a noticeable rise in enquiries and membership applications, which I expect to go even higher once people realise that Midford really is coming back, and as part of a through route again.

We do expect to sign the handover of the station within a few days. You'll read it here first!
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

more facebook

Another new S&D (as opposed to New S&D) Facebook group is the one just started by new member George Howard for Bath Green Park station. To view and/or join click here.
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

stamping ground

Great news - the post office is issuing a set of stamps in August and one of the first class values is shown above. Evening Star on the Pines at Midsomer Norton! I assume that Midsomer Norton will be doing a huge tie in with the issue of these stamps as this is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to push the station! It's even better that it's a first class stamp as these see vastly more use than the higher values in the rest of the set. Buy as many of these as you can and use them on all your letters and parcels! Issue date is 19 August 2010. There will also be a much larger postcard sized stamp card available.
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Saturday, June 05, 2010

cradle to cradle

There's a bit of a buzz about Cradle to Cradle - a concept that suggests that everything we make - fron chairs to carpets to rolling stock - can be built using reuseable components giving products essentially an infinite life. This would quickly solve environmental constraints, though not of course energy ones! I hope that it's possible to use this style of design in creating the New S&D.
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Friday, June 04, 2010

getting odder ...

The latest S&D Facebook group has an interesting remit - to dig out Corfe Mullen Halt!
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Thursday, June 03, 2010

facebook groups springing up ...

It's great to see so many new S&D Facebook groups springing up ... mostly being set up by new member George Howard. These nicely complement the Facebook groups for individual stations which now number three, with many more to come.

Latest is a group for the 7Fs.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

S&D v GWR - let the battle commence!

Typical Great Western main line station.

This has just appeared on a Facebook group - proof, even if tongue in cheek, that even today there are a few idiots out there that couldn't be cool if they lived in an igloo ...

the pines was a silly named train over Somerset's Dismantled Joke Railway, it's a good job it got closed down and the "pines" got diverted along lines with actual centres of population on them, and lines that were properly engineered. Plus the Red Dragon was 92220's moment of glory because it proved that 9F's were better than many mixed traffic and passenger designs.also I'm sick of hearing people crying over the loss of the S&D, it was just another branchline that if open today would just be a drain on resources.
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midford - discuss ....

(Click on picture to enlarge and read text).

This is a plan for Midford put forward by George M Howard, who has recently created the Pines Express and Evening Star Facebook groups. This was merely a 'thought experiment', dreamed up before there were any plans to restore Midford. I do wonder if once we start work at Midford, which is now imminent, a trackless station will soon be too little, and thoughts will switch to laying track? Posted by Picasa

pining for the pines

Hot on the heels of the launch of the Pines Express Facebook group, John Penny at Gartell sent this pic from Monday to remind us all that a version of the Pines Express is already running over the route of part of the S&D. Remember, the S&D is far from dead and is now returning to life in FOUR separate locations - Midsomer Norton, Gartell Railway, Shillingstone and (in a few days' time) Midford.
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