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 12, 2011

the US ahead of the UK in modern transport - who would have believed it?

The USA, former home of the automobile has actually pushed AHEAD of the UK in developing 21st ce ntury transport. In addition to building dozens of new tramways in the last twenty years or so they have just now started building trams again.

It's time the UK woke up tpo the amazing opportunities opening up for the building and operating of modern transport solutions - both light and heavy rail - as the oil price escalates.

This is from the US Dept of Transportation's own blog.

United Streetcar putting Americans to work

When you watch our latest video, "Transporting America: United Streetcar," you'll see the next generation of transportation. You'll see transit investments from the Department of Transportation helping people get where they need to go without breaking the bank. And you'll see a company out-innovating and out-building its foreign competition while creating jobs for American workers.

The streetcars rolling through Portland, Oregon, are helping commuters beat the rising cost of refueling their cars and vans and trucks. And, as rising gas prices take a bigger bite out of family budgets, other communities are looking to ease that bite through similar transportation options.

As commuter Jim Winkle says in the video, "It's made a huge difference."

That's why the Department of Transportation has supported streetcar projects in communities like Portland across America. From Charlotte, North Carolina, and Washington, DC, to Tucson, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas, grants from the Federal Transit Administration are helping jump-start the American streetcar renaissance.

United Streetcar president Chandra Brown agrees: "The Department of Transportation has been a true partner as the streetcar industry has developed. Without their assistance, we could not have made the private investment to make this new industry successful."

That's good news for commuters and their families. It's also good news for American workers because, at United Streetcar, they're manufacturing the first American streetcars in more than 50 years.

And we mean "American." The cars rolling out of United Streetcar have the highest percentage of American parts and labor of any streetcar in the last 50 years. That means United Streetcar's innovation is creating an economic ripple effect, providing business for an all-American supply chain of more than 200 different vendors in 20-plus states across the U.S.

I love the idea of DOT grants helping create American jobs, and I love the idea of helping American families with options to ease the pinch they feel at the pump. But there's also the pride I hear in workers--like welder Steve Goodman and construction foreman Casey Peacock--who know that for the first time in more than 50 years America can build its own streetcars.

And not only build our own streetcars--this company is bold enough to take on its foreign competitors by planning to export the cars they make.

President Obama has challenged Americans to dream big and build big. United Streetcar has risen to that challenge, and they’re doing it all with American parts, labor, and ingenuity. That means less congestion on our roads, more jobs for American workers, and a future we are prepared to win.

Video <here


Ken Harrington said...

A bit of good publicity but it really is designed by Skoda.
United Streetcar was a joint venture Company with Skoda to manufacture a transportation system in the USA.

Anonymous said...


I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at somersetanddorset.blogspot.com.

Can I use part of the information from your post right above if I provide a link back to this website?


Sunshiner said...

Yes of course. But please link back to the US Dept of Transportation's blog rather than this one as that is where the info originates.

Please link to http://fastlane.dot.gov/2011/04/united-streetcar.html

Joe D said...

Beware of the PR/hype. I bet the Americans are getting jealous over nicely produced marketing pieces on Manchester trams.

Same with cycling provision. British cyclists get jealous over the Streetfilms (http://www.streetfilms.org/) on the new cycling facilities in New York and Portland. Meanwhile, the American cyclists get jealous when they see Boris Johnson's PR pieces on his brilliant cycle superhighways and cycling revolution.

In reality, both New York and London have embarrassingly bad cycling "facilities" -- but we've both fallen for the PR coming from each other's city halls, each thinking that the other has something that we don't.

A rare few cities in the US are experimenting with light rail / trams -- just as in the UK -- and are producing a lot of PR about it. The reality in both countries is way behind the marketing vision :|