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, January 18, 2011

more s&d returns

These shots from the Shillingstone website show the amazing progress they are making on rebuilding the signalbox. This is impressive work and will be a real asset to the S&D. Midsomer Norton did this a few years ago and Graeme Mayes worked wonders recreating another S&D iconic signalbox there. With Midsomer Norton South and now Shillingstone signal boxes returning from the past how long before Midford - and many other places en route - also reappear in all their glory?

2011 so far has been an amazing year for the S&D all along the line. Midford is now almost cleared, Midsomer Norton is progressing steadily, with regular trains a feature later in the year, and Shillingstone seems to have had an incredible new burst of energy. Hopefully Spetisbury will also begin to stir in the next few months.

I can't see anything now stopping the gradual restoration of the whole route and in a real S&D style rather than the basic railway which is the alternative. This is a fantastic time to be involved with the S&D and the old (ridiculous) 'divisions' which once tainted us are disappearing as quickly as the infrastructure is reappearing.

So please get involved. Obviously join the New S&D, as this is the umbrella organisation for the whole route, but please also join any or all of the other organisations that are preserving and restoring the S&D (Midsomer Norton, Shillingstone, Gartell and Washford). All of the groups, even including the New S&D now we have Midford, offer loads of opportunities to work on site as well as behind the scenes activities which are so important. Hopefully soon we will be able to offer joint membership for all the groups which will benefit the whole S&D.
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Toddingtonted said...

Good stuff from Shillingstone! Thanks for the update. This has really been a fast mover!

Anonymous said...

You should have seen it today. Talking to the guys there I found out that they've bought over half a mile of track which they will start laying this year. Blimey!

yamfaz said...

This is brilliant news. How soon will Spetisbury be starting, is it a question of red tape or manpower?

Sunshiner said...

W'ere just waiting for the council to give us the nod!