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, February 26, 2011

the fall of oil

(Edington Burtle late 1960s - Steve Sainsbury collection)

With the Arab nations falling to a kind of anarchic democracy one by one there are the first mutterings of Peak Oil out there. Interestingly Peak Oil was mentioned on BBC News the other day, the first time I've heard it hit the mainstream. Somebody obviously (or deliberately) forgot the usual 'climate change' cover story. As oil fields get caught up in the maelstrom it's inevitable - even if the current difficulties are contained - that the price of oil will continue to rise but, more importantly, more and more commentators will start researching Peak Oil and the general energy crisis.

The most dreadful outcome of course will be if Saudi Arabia falls, particularly to Islamic extremists. It is going to be interesting.

It would be best for us all if the switch from oil is carefully choreographed and reasonably painless, but with most oil being in volatile parts if the world this may be a forlorn hope.

The car age is clearly coming to an end and all future talk will be about trains and trams. This is just the beginning. The changes are going to be momentous, yet most people out there don't have a clue what's going to hit them.
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Anonymous said...

Do you think climate change is a cover story?

Sunshiner said...

I do feel that governments the world over are softening us up for the big story of peak oil by scaring us with climate change first. The 'cure' for both are in most cases the same.

Climate change is a very serious issue but it will be corrected by the end of the oil age, so I can't see any point in keep banging away about it. Governments need to come clean and give the public the facts about peak oil so we can all prepare for it. It's not rocket science!

The thing is that there are loads of variables within climate change science and the process of change is slow generally, whereas peak oil has the potential for sudden, violent and permanent change, which is probably why our 'leaders' don't think we're ready for the truth. Hence the far more benign threat of climate change ...

Anonymous said...

You said in the today's blog post that climate change is a "cover story". And that BBC forgot to "use" it this time. Other places on this blog/S&D site you recognise climate change - I am confused. Are you pandering to the climate change denialists, or not? (the "loopy greens" like trains) Claiming climate change is a cover for peak oil is bizarre - and it has backfired hopelessly on the leaders.

Maybe you are right that peak oil will be more damaging than CC (I have no idea) and I agree that the cure for both is broadly the same.

But we have more than enough oil and coal in the ground to wreck the climate, and there is violent and sudden change aplenty from global warming.

Sunshiner said...

I don't pander to anybody! Only idiots or terminal retards 'deny' climate change. It's a simple fact, and no serious scientist challenges it.

What I thought I clearly said was that we've been fed climate change for years to encourage us to make at least some of the changes that Peak Oil will need us to make, and that climate change is a much less scary story than the end of cheap energy, at least on the surface. Simpler indeed.

I'm sorry, I was being a bit playful with the 'sudden, violent and permanent' change line which was, as I'm sure you probably realise, a lateral dig at those very climate change deniers that we still sometimes find in pubs and American politics.

Sunshiner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

good luck with rebuilding this railway. The west county will be a much better place to live if/when the route returns.

Freddie said...

One might also add that in an age of student debt and crippling house prices, how many younger people will be able to afford a depreciating asset like a car?

Sunshiner said...

Not just young people! A lot of families already can't afford to buy a car let alone run one. Of course the fuel costs are only a small proportion of the cost of a car, there's insurance, road tax, MOTs, repairs, servicing and, often the biggest cost of all, depreciation.

Saying that I managed to run a car at times when I was younger but insurance and tax were rarely paid!

My stepdaughter has a car (much against our advice) and she's just had to put aside £1000 just for insurance - yet she only uses it to drive around 500 miles a year! Just do the sums.

We should have a rail ticket like Switerland that gives you access to the whole network for a year - I think it costs around £1500 a year in Switzerland. If this was priced carefully at just below the set up costs of running an average car - say £5000 per year per FAMILY - I could see a lot of people switching from car to public transport. I believe the Swiss ticket also includes all buses and trams as well.

Knoxy said...

a rail card set at the road tax rate giving the holder massive % reductions in the cost of rail travel has to be the way to go. to avoid the shock of no oil we need to rebuild our lost lines fast, not high speed rail, but slow speed rail.

the joke of it all, is we once had an intergrated transport system of trams, freight hubs in town, trolley buses, secondary rail routes etc, but we destroyed in all on the back of cheap oil. doesn't quite look like the cheap option now, does it!

Nevardmedia said...

Aside the important issues in this post, this photograph is fascinating. I'm intrigued by all the iron work on the platform. I wonder when the tatty wooden station buildings became firewood? Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Climate change is nothing new. The earths climate, like it's geography has, and always will be changing. But at least the loonie leftist 'warmists' have had to withdraw that idiotic idea and have conceeded that is no longer a fact. The arch idiot who subscribed to that now defunct idea, is the Al Gore [who has lined his own pockets well from the false flag!]
Aside from that, oil is not about to run out anytime soon....according to PROVEN geological studies and test drillings, the U.S. is said to hold the largest UNTAPPED oil reserves on the planet including the middle east! Also, oil wells thought to have been previously pumped out and abandoned, have 'miraculously' filled again with oil! This is verifiable fact.
However, the middle east conflict is not, as many uninformed would believe, a purely spontaneous outburst. Of course, the wise [!] strategist will wish to use someone ELSE'S oil first, before using their own! Also, there is a strategy at play here by the NWO [new world order] whose aim is to destabilise all middle eastern countries in preparation for UN [united nazis] who are themselves owned by the nwo elite, to take over and control of government of oil producing nations and hence ALL oil output. This however, does NOT mean the ordinary 'joe' on the street will get cheaper oil! In fact, the aim is to keep oil at a regulated high price which gives nwo government the final say in just WHO can and cannot afford to drive personal transport. Bottom line, it's ALL about C O N T R O L of the 'masses' which is what nwo government is about. What relation does this have to this site?
Well, let's look at this whole issue in a slightly wider aspect than a group of well meaning people wishing to re instate a defunct railway....whether you [the reader] believe in the nwo [again, verifiable] or not, is your perogative. What I am saying is that you may choose to ignore what you may view as the larger issues , but the nwo aims will NOT ignore YOU. Like it or not, we ALL of us, rely on road transport, and oil: Our whole western civillisation is based around the use of and consumption of oil!
How are ANY transport systems going to run without oil? ALL machines, even steam locos, need a certain amount of grease, oil to be able to run! Much as the romantisism of railways is being played, fact is, people will always be reliant on personal transport to get them TO the train in first place! And I ask you: Are YOU prepared to do away with your car RIGHT now, and rely on rail to get you where you need to be? You think fuel prices are high? Try rail fares for a few days! Truth is, people will NEVER return to using rail transport in the way they HAD to when I was young....those days are GONE. I am not saying rail doesn't have an important, indeed vital role to play in the movemnt of bulk freight in this day and age, but as prime 'people mover'? No, only for rare long distance travel do most ever use them, aside from regular commuter routes of course. Fact is, people like their privacy and comfort...can some of YOU people HONESTLY envisage getting to your preservation pastime WITHOUT a car? Without the tools you use to do the clearing? If your cars were taken away from you, I think membership of these projects would fall to ZERO!
Not being a 'damp squib' just being real.