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!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

sustrans pushing the peak oil message

This is from Sustrans' press office, a reaction to the recent dinosaur budget which assumes we are still in the 1970s!

Charity Sustrans accuses the Chancellor of delivering a disastrous budget which focuses on short term gains to get popular support. His measures to reduce and limit the cost of fuel mean that once again we are incentivising people to use their cars while failing to offer alternatives that would provide a transport lifeline to poorer households without access to a car.

Jason Torrance, Sustrans' Policy Manager says "Mr Osborne has missed a golden opportunity to invest the £2bn from the oil companies in providing alternatives to car travel. People are now being encouraged to drive in a 1970's dream that could soon evaporate with a change in the price of oil.

"Sadly he has delivered the budget from behind the steering wheel of a Ford Focus and ignored the opportunity to provide alternatives to car use and much needed support to those suffering from the high cost of fuel.

"We do ourselves no favours by continuing to ignore the obvious - oil is a finite resource and will become unaffordable long before it finally dries up. Unless we invest in low carbon alternatives to car use we are facing a divide in society with the majority of people living in transport poverty."


Knoxy said...

Oil is going to be around for a good time yet, but it’s just the amount of it and the price that will cause a few problems?

I don't think the majority are ready to hear that their way of life is going to change when the drug of oil becomes ever more expensive?

I don't really care what the politicians say, or what they believe (often quite different), it's about what they do. Sooner or later they are going to realise that we will need some of the rail infrastructure destroyed during the 60's 70' and 80's. I think £6 a gallon is certainly doing it and when it hits £10 and higher the panic will set in?

In the meantime, that’s a very impressive amount of work going on at Midford.

Keep it up

Anonymous said...

Be very careful with Sustrans.


Sunshiner said...

Sustrans has a huge remit with a budget to match - which can result in all the outcomes and problems that the article addresses.

At the same time we have to allow Sustrans to move with the times, and that takes a large organisation a lot longer to do because of the vested interests and bureaucracy.

But it will change. It's obvious now that the reason Sustrans was gifted with so many resources was because government saw them as a holding operation to preserve railway trackbeds in the short to medium term. To suggest that governments are unaware of Peak Oil would be naive, and a lot of planning has been done to make the switch from oil (and from road to rail) easier. When the time comes the old cycleways will be resited to allow the trains to run and I suspect even Sustrans is well aware of this. There will be plenty of abandoned roads available to convert to formal or informal cycleways so, at least for the future, any conflict over use of trackbeds will be quickly forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Where is the picture taken?