Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, January 02, 2011
I was pointed in the direction of the National Preservation Forum the other day. The name gives away the fact that this is basically a site for rail preservationists - or 'puffer lovers' as they are sometimes cruelly called. It's amazing that in many cases the contributors want to not only preserve the rail infrastructure of the sixties but also the dinosaur attitudes!
The one thing that really upset me was the poster who reckoned all the S&D groups should combine (something we support 100%) but then only build a ten mile stretch of line with an intermediate station (I suspect they mean Radstock to Shepton) and leave it at that - forever!
Now our constitution, and that of the SDRHT at Midsomer Norton, commit us to restore and/or support restoration of the whole S&D. One of the first acts of the New S&D was to enshrine this - forever - into our constitution.
Any curtailed section of the S&D will never survive in the post-oil world. ALL 'heritage' railways will have to adapt to very changed circumstances. Coal burners will have to convert to wood, diesels will vanish entirely and many routes will adopt various forms of electrification. But, and most importantly, ALL the lines will have to serve a useful purpose, for passengers and freight. ALL of these lines will have to have a network connection, or some form of rail connection, otherwise little if any visitors will be able to reach the line.
A totally restored S&D will solve all these problems for the future.
We have always worked on the first principal that the S&D WILL be restored, whatever the circumstances. Even without Peak Oil eventually the line will be needed to relieve pressure on network routes. With Peak Oil its restoration is essential even sooner. What we are trying to do is ensure that when restoration comes it needs to be sympathetic both to the history of the route and to the countryside it runs through. This is why all S&D fans should support and join the New S&D, in addition to joining their local S&D heritage group. Because without us the future of the S&D will be a busy but basic route that doesn't offer employment opportunities, a high standard of station facilities or marketing that makes it a superb asset and investment. With us we can excert the leverage and pressure that ensures that it is our vision for the S&D which prevails.
Put simply - no compromise!