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 11, 2011


This has gone out to all SDRHT members but they have also asked me to put this on the blog so it reaches the widest possible audience. So if you're not already a member of the SDRHT down at Midsomer Norton if you do have any of these skills now is definitely the time to join!

These are interesting times at Midsomer Norton as we extend the railway towards Chilcompton but, as ever, we need more willing volunteers to achieve our ultimate aim.

We have been considering how best to move forward in the civil and mechanical engineering front and feel that the ideal solution is to set up a dedicated team comprising people who have either mechanical, electrical, or civil engineering skills who can work together in support of the Engineering Directors.

To that end, would you be willing to be part of that essential support team? If you have any of these skills, or the skills to make inventories, drawings or maps then

“Your Railway Needs You”

We seek those who could help us create a Register of the Trust Assets, that is, all plant, equipment, rolling stock, earthworks, culverts, drainage, trackwork, signaling, buildings and services.

The team would then take on responsibility for updating those records prompting/arranging routine inspections of those assets.

Amongst our members we are sure there are some excellent skills just waiting to be utilised and this could be your opportunity to apply them to the S&D. The result would be that you have played a significant role in ensuring that we expand the railway quicker and safely.

In the first instance, if you feel your skills could be useful to us, please contact me either by writing to me at the station address or emailing me at
douglashill1@tiscali.co.uk by the 20th March if possible letting me know the area where you feel you can assist. I will then contact you on how we can best make use of your offer of assistance.
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