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, January 16, 2011


First apologies for no posts for a week or so - I've not been too well. But a lot better today ...

I'm sure a lot of you have been waiting for Bachmann's S&D 7F '00' gauge model. It's now with us and it looks fantastic.

Is there any other line apart from the S&D that would get this treatment? A specific model for our route and look at the pubicity shot with a classic S&D landscape behind. This shows the enormous power of our brand!

This post was inspired by this from Adrian Romano which covers S&D and modelling and a few other things ...

I don't know if you keep abreast of what is going on in the world of model railways at present, but there's suddenly a lot of S & D emphasis here and there, what with the excellent 00 gauge layout based on Blandford Forum station at the local museum starring as Railway of the Month in the "Railway Modeller", Bachmann's superb models of S & D 7Fs and Hornby releasing a set of Maunsell coaches as running on S & D metals and a 2P in that railway's Prussian blue.

Apropos Peak Oil, if the peak happens round about 2015 as they suggest on the Steel Interstate website, this would be around the time a century ago when, in Switzerland, there were serious coal shortages on their railways as a result of the First World War, and they ended up electrifying the major routes such as the Gotthardbahn in the 1920s by taking advantage of cheap electricity from hydro-electric plant. A similar scenario could affect the US of A in the coming years, possibly as an unwelcome addition to the in-tray of a Republican administration with Sarah Palin as Vice-President soon after coming into office!

Myself? I've just submitted an application to join the Mid-Anglia Rail Passengers' Association, to promote and protect rail services between Ipswich and Cambridge and Peterborough. It will be interesting to learn how seriously they and Railfuture are taking Peak Oil at present.

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richard said...

With having 2 S&D 7F's restored and in steam,and 1(soon 3-to my knowledge) Fowler 4F's, we could, for autheticity, do with building a new Fowler 2P-it is after all the only class of loco missing from the ranks of S&D stock.(and so absolutely iconic)Maybe a future project to re-unite all the different S&D interested parties!

Sunshiner said...

It's what the New S&D is all about. Rather than being stuck with a modern, basic railway, which will be the outcome if we don't unite and get the line rebuilt properly, we sometimes need to be reminded that this is the S&D - easily the most popular line in the UK if not the whole world.

The New S&D is about creating a modern efficient and sustainable transport link, but with a 'heritage' feel to the infrastructure, an open door to heritage groups that want to operate trains on the route as well as specials from the network, and a huge sense of community involvement alog the line. I still don't understand why some 'railway enthusiasts' would rather this didn't happen, and that their image of a horribly fractured succession of struggling 'steam museums' with no feel for the S&D should prevail. This isn't a dig at current groups on the route - Shillingstone, Gartell and MN are justly proud of what they've achieved - but at the non-participant egotists in the 'it'll never happen brigade' who would love to see all of us fail.

It won't happen, the New S&D will rebuild the route and encourage the building of new steam locomotives to operate sections of the route and to bring in extra income and visitors to the line who don't happen to live along the route and use the regular trains.

This is a great idea!

Toddingtonted said...

The S&D 7F is a very "restricted" model locomotive as we all know that they only worked over a certain line except for visits to Derby for overhaul. However, such is the demand for the S&D that Bachmann has felt it well worth the time, money and effort to produce this workmanlike looking loco. Heck, I have a GWR layout but I'm going to have to buy one!

Anonymous said...

There websitesite says they're going to release a 3F this year. Will look great on my layout.

richard said...

Sorry if I misled anyone, but my suggestion was referring to a full-sized rebuild (the real thing!)not a scale model. Maybe a Future Project for all interested in the S&D. It could even be Named!