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!

Monday, January 03, 2011

q and a session

(Photos - all inspirationally Swiss!)

Recently posted - a gift for return of serve!

Wish you luck and agree with idea but you are living in a fantasy world if you think it will ever REALLY happen; too many plots sold off and millions upon millions of pounds of infrastructure to replace. Should never have been closed - but the time to fight was 60s, like the Settle and Carlisle Railway supporters did. The only REAL railway investment likely to happen now is HIGH SPEED links, not the local loss making railways. Despite this, you are right but that doesn't mean much!
My reply -

I hate fantasy - it's a waste of energy! You won't find any in the New S&D - we are a terribly straight-laced and unsentimental lot! Businesspeople, accountants, economists and academics in the main.

Please don't just wish us luck - join us!

Billions, not millions. We have no illusions as to the difficulty in raising money like this, but there are ways. And it will get easier as time goes by.

The S&C fight was in the 70s, the absolute nadir of railways. In fact I felt that was the turning point for rail in the UK and the S&C (I was born in Carlisle) is one of the inspirations for the S&D.

Most rail infrastructure investments in this country since have been for local routes - Robin Hood line, Airdrie-Bathgate, Ebbw Vale, Waverley route, Larkhall, Alloa, Welsh Highland Railway. HS rail is part of the future, but will hardly be ideal for freight, terrible for local rail traffic and is already causing controversy through the areas it runs, as the inhabitants can't see the benefits they'll get. It's not a zero-sum game. Remember all that former road development money is coming rail's way ...

And the S&D won't be a loss-maker in any case. Remember that dodgy accounting, hatred of the route by the regional management and a deliberate decision not to rationalise and dieselise the route, together with diversion of traffic, killed the line, not big losses. It certainly won't be a loss maker in the future - we hope to pay regular and good dividends to the shareholders!It will happen - the only question is what sort of S&D will emerge. Let's do it our way.

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Knoxy said...

The fight is very much now and in the future. Forget the 60's & 70's, apart from the lessons of history, the time is now. Don’t hide behind excuses. This country's dependency on oil costs us all dearly. Add the costs of two wars to the bill of fuelling the car and £1.40 a litre may seem cheap!

I have walked a fair bit of the line and nothing I’ve seen presents an insurmountable obstacle for reinstatement. There isn't a house or supermarket that will stand in the way when the people demand transport and the oil has gone.

The future is local traffic and freight. Everything revolves around transport. We knew that 100 years ago, it is still the same today.

We need to prepare for the scarcity of oil


Anonymous said...

I think it can be done. It will take time. But clearly there will be "easier" bits and bits that look totally insurmountable. Fine! Do the easier bits - then, like a picture which comes into focus, the obvious will be clear - that is to link the easy bits together.

Out of interest is, say Radstock to Bath (wherever the station could be), deemed to be an "easier" bit?

Sunshiner said...

Radstock to Bath is certainly one of the easiest bits. Radstock south to the outskirts of Shepton is also pretty much clear and probably has the lowest land values. Sturminster to Broadstone is also pretty much clear throughout. In fact the whole line is amazingly undeveloped considering it's been closed nearly 45 years! There are only a few blockages, all of which can be overcome. Biggest problems I think are Poole-Broadstone (but of course this is one of the most essential bits, so I imagine mountains will be moved to get the railway back!), Blandford town (but again an essential piece), Sturminster Newton has been a bit developed, Evercreech New, Wincanton, Shepton Mallet, possibly Radstock though there is a route through, and the final part in Bath - but again this piece is so important that I imagine the people and council in Bath will - when it's clear the ine's desperately needed - do everything they can to make things easier for us all.

will said...

By the way maesbury (from where the line crossed Thrupe lane) to shepton makes a lovely walk. Its open all the way, (but not public access for the first part.) You go over a lovely viaduct and though a tunnel and there are great views towards the end.
Sadly the viduct over the B3136 has been closed due to suicides, but before then you could get almost all the way to Charlton Viaduct touching tarmac once.