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!

Friday, February 11, 2011

next stop spetisbury

The plan of the bit we'll take on. The station is in the top LH corner, the trackbed extends to the bottom RH.

Have just heard this afternoon that DCC are very keen for us to restore Spetisbury! Like at Midford our plan will be to rebuild the station to early 50s condition and to have an information point, shop and office in the main building. We have a lot of members at the southern end of our line so hopefully they'll be able to keep pace with the Midford team! But the one different thing at Spetisbury is that there is plenty of room for track - in fact the plan suggests that double track could be restored on this stretch as there is a lot of room either side of the cycleway.

This station is on the absolutely strategic section to the south of Blandford, the largest town in Dorset currently not rail served.

Thanks to Paul Beard for starting the process and Anna-Jayne Metcalfe for doing the recent legwork on this - both S&D heroes!
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Knoxy said...

Well done again to all...

Superb. Having visited this location with Steve in February 2009 I know what an iconic English countryside station this can become. I like the blue brick steps up to the former station. We knew how to build stuff to last back then!

will said...

Is that piece of land on the market?

Sunshiner said...

Sadly no, though of course the situation may change in the future. It's owned by Dorset CC. At the moment this is also the situation at Shillingstone, and Midsomer Norton leases the station site plus trackbed southwards from 3 different owners.

Midford however is owned by us, and is at the moment the only piece of S&D land fully owned by a standard guage rail revival group.

Ideally we'd always like to buy the freehold of any land that becomes available so it's preserved for rail use for ever but the downside of this is that it does tie up a lot of money whereas leases are often on a peppercorn basis (often les than £100 pa) which is less secure but far far cheaper!

All New S&D land will be protected for ever for future rail use - Midford was a particularly strategic acquisition.

Richard Phillips said...

Great news, well done to all concerned!

Freddie said...

I see that there are proposals to build 200 houses on the Alcan site at Midsomer Norton, backing on to the S&D formation. Perhaps they ought to be asked for a contribution towards restoring the S&D before any money they are obbliged to give gets spent on roads?

Sunshiner said...

It would be nice if all new housing schemes were now sited near to railway stations (existing and planned) - even today house values rise the closer they are to railed transport, and this is only going to get sharper as time goes on.

But whether there is any way of obliging house builders to contribute towards rail reinstatement is another thing. This is perhaps just too small a scheme to do that with. In Tavistock a 700 house project is tied into reinstatement of the railway, so the process is beginning.

Anna-Jayne Metcalfe said...

It's definitely possible, but requires "joined up thinking" on the part of the local council.

Such a levy (via Dorset County Council) is how the Swanage branch resignalling is being funded.

Anonymous said...

I've read the books and watched countless DVDs on the S&D. to see it revived as a fully operational, revenue earning railway once again will be something to behold. I'm in!

Sunshiner said...

Great to have you on board!

Anonymous said...

The Welsh got a huge grant from the EU towards the cost of rebuilding the Welsh Highland Railway. Does anyone think that some form of grant may be available for rebuilding the S&D, especially if people can convince the government to drop HS2, the rich man's railway. I appreciate that there are money problems across Europe but if they are prepared to give the UK £32 billion for HS2 surely they could help fund relaying the S&D if they don't have to fund HS2.