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!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

the electric car con

So our 'green' government are giving a £5000 subsidy to everyone who buys an electric car and are planning to put in thousands of charging points for these groundbreaking 'green' vehicles.

Of course far from being 'green' electric cars actually pour out even more pollution than a traditional petrol or diesel car. How? Because the electricity has to be generated, normally by burning coal or oil. And each step in an energy conversion programme loses some energy, typically 20%. Both coal and oil are dirty polluters, churning out CO2 as well as further depleting our rapidly diminishing reserves. So all electric cars will do is pollute more and deplete faster, the ultimate con. Hopefully this should be enough to wipe the smug smirks off the faces of electric car drivers and encourage people to switch from road to rail.

Of course if the electricity is generated by renewables that's a different matter, but even renewables use traditional energy in their construction and maintenance. The best thing is to rebuild our rail network where the energy is used far more efficiently. Electric cars are a con. Electric railways and tramways are the way forward.


Anonymous said...

how can electric for trains be any better if your saying electricity is bad? slightly confused, it might be more efficient but who says no more Neuclear power wont come into play?

Sunshiner said...

Where am I saying electricity is bad? Electricity is the only way forward for serious transport systems. Every bit of energy we use in an energy constrained future will have to be justified. Rail is anything from 4 to 25 times as efficient per unit of fuel. It's clear that road transport will have no chance against the sheer efficiency plus choice of energy delivery systems that rail will offer. It's up to all of us how that energy is generated, from renewables such as hydro, wind and solar, through semi-renewables such as nuclear and through the transition period even old coal and oil generated power. Anyone who thinks that nuclear power won't be used hasn't grasped the seriousness of the energy cruch that's looming. At least with rail we won't be wasting energy, which we've been doing for the last 100 years by expanding what is now a pointless road network and encouraging people to drive as the alternatives were taken away from them.

The other option of course is that we revert to feet, bikes and horses alone, and I don't think anyone wants that. We deserve better.

Anonymous said...

All for reopening railways, but it's an inconvenient truth that they inevitably end up as union-run ventures which exist for the benefit of the staff, not the customers.

If we had genuine competition in rail then that would be a different matter, but as it is we have to pump billions into rail just to keep it going.

Electric vehicles (and railways) are the way ahead, and to dismiss them before we've even got rolling with them is a bit premature IMHO.

Sunshiner said...

Warren Buffet will never invest in a unionised company and the New S&D won't need to employ union members, hopefully all other 21st century lines will adopt the same policy. Unions were so much a 20th century thing that I'm amazed they still exist - they certainly won't in twenty or thirty years time!

The problem with electric cars is that they INCREASE the net amount of energy required, rather than reduce it. It's greenwashing of the worst kind - it doesn't address either climate change or peak oil so is destined to fail. To waste valuable resources putting in an electric car infrastructure would be a criminal waste of time and money. The problem is of course thata road vehicle has to carry around the extra weight of batteries whereas railways can pick up their energy via wires, rail, stubs or conduits, or use flywheels. They are also at least 4 times as efficient due to reduced friction.

Economic measures will tighten up as the years pass. We can't ignore that.