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, March 18, 2011

help wanted

(Henstridge, late 1960s. © Steve Sainsbury Collection/Rail Thing)

The New S&D is trying to be two things at the same time - a champion of the classic S&D (up to 1966) and a champion of the future S&D (from 2009). This dual role will show itself as the line is built, with ultra modern sustainable transport (electric and steam) running along a line that reflects its origins - with infrastructure etc being in the classic S&D style.

Another place this dual role will become vital is on our website - with details and news of the new line but also with a huge historical archive of the route. Part of this is the really fun line description, where you can travel up and down the route station by station. But this section is still a little sparse in places. If you have photos of the line (taken at ANY time), details of the historical and/or current situation or memories of particular stations please send them to our webmaster David Bailey, who's done a fantastic job on the website.
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michael huber said...

How we wish! But not exactly much less than nearly impossible now. I note that the branch to Highbridge not included? Perhaps this really is impossible. One suggestion: that all the various groups involved in recording or reviving the S & D collaborate in producing a joint magazine, with sections for each group within it. A larger print run, a larger circulation to obtain advertising revenue, and a larger though perhaps cheaper magazine to tempt in more members, as well as enabling the sharing of ideas and enthusiasms could be some of the advantages!

Sunshiner said...

The Highbridge branch is included but still no firm ideas on exactly how to proceed - reinstatement of the original route throughout, Evercreech just to Glastonbury and Wells, Cheddar Valley to Wells or an entirely new route over the Mendips giving Wells and Glastonbury direct trains to Bristol and Bath.

Agree with a combined magazine plus working more closely together if it is possible to square the circle of a sustainable transport group and three separate heritage schemes!

It will get easier as time goes on. Few people now seriously expect the Oil Age to last more than a decade or two, a few more are still hoping for miracle road transport using hydrogen or electricity, but neither are scalable, useable by lorries/aeroplanes or cheap enough for 90% of us.