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!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

the s&d brand

This is the fantastic model of Blandford station which graces the cover of this month's Railway Modeller. The S&D seems to be going from strength to strength lately, it's everywhere! No other line comes close to the S&D for popularity.

I think much of the reason is that it is coming back, and more and more people are realising that that now means the WHOLE route and not just tiny - magnificent as they are - portions of it. It's amazing to think that 20 years ago not an inch of track remained in place on the route, and there were still many people that thought it would NEVER return.

We've seen a surge in membership in the New S&D over recent months, despite keeping ourselves pretty low key. Yesterday we had 419 hits on this blogsite! 2011 will see that big push that we've promised for some months. Hopefully we'll have solid news on Spetisbury soon which will mean that the S&D will be being revived at FIVE sites (6 including the private restoration at Masbury) on the route. Hopefully the groups will work more and more closely together in time. It would be nice for example to have joint meetings of all the groups (plus Washford) so we can co-ordinate the restoration and to share information. As I've often said this is a fantastic time to be involved with the most important rail restoration project in Europe!
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