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!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the future

Remember all those 'Then and Now' books, showing scenes from the past and scenes from the present, showing the decline of the railway network? They always used to depress me because they were so defeatist.

Well at last the tables are turning as more and more lines and stations open and we're beginning to see books that more accurately reflect the 21st century rather than continue the misery of the 20th!

Just got this today and it's heartening to see just how many new stations have opened in the last thirty years. And even more heartening to see Templecombe on the front cover!
Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

You would think that the low lifes who instigated this massive road lobby / marples-ridgeway / oil baron and friends stitchup would be dead by now, but they continue to raise and poison a new generation of politicians, accountants, consultants and anti rail red tape generating scumbags

Sunshiner said...

yes, but for every one reopened steve, how many more are closed?

how many more freight contracts are lost to road?

how many more goods only branches are closed, lifted and b@ggered up by government quango sustrans?

how many more bridges are demolished, embankments bulldozed, cuttings filled in?

how many double tracks are singled?

how many goods loops, refuge sidings and general sidings are lifted, fenced off and built on or conveniently obstructed by a new signal, gas main or building?

how many stations are demolished and replaced by overhead shopping malls or bus shelters?

how many operational structures are left to sprout buddleia from their brickwork and decking?

how many sites' track layouts are conveniently rationalised during, remodelling, resignalling or electrification?

how many lines are raised, or slewed over blocking old formations?


(I accidentally deleted Nick's comment rather than posted it, so I've cut and pasted it and put on via my account)

Sunshiner said...


Well there hasn't been a significant rail closure in the UK since 1985 whereas many many miles of lines have been reopened (for passengers mainly).

Freight on rail is booming.

There have been some goods route closures but these generally served just one location, in many cases they could have continued to carry passengers and developed other freight flows.

Several lines have been redoubled, I don't think any have been singled recently.

The rest of your points are really slanted towards the original Beeching closures. I don't think even the most pro-rail person would have, in the 60s when oil was cheap and plentiful, been able to make a case to protect every bit of rail infrastructure, much of which was thought to have no future - ever.

They were wrong. The railways are now at their busiest for generations, new lines and stations are opening everywhere, more trains are being slotted in, in many cases straining existing routes' capacity and the days of road builidng are over for good.

What's not to celebrate?

Knoxy said...

in 2009 i returned for a short stint on the North London Line and it was busier than ever. in 1998 there were three passenger trains an hour, plus freight. By 2009 the passenger trains were four an hour (each way) with six during the peak. i left in January 2011 when the boxes closed and the line had been re-signalled for control by Upminster for even more services. the freight is still there, with lots of freightliners from Eastern ports going North. soon those freights will avoid the NLL when crosscountry routes are cleared for higher gauge freightliners and no doubt even more boxes will travel by rail. when i returned to Slough IECC there was even more traffic. the railways are full, yet there is more demand.

the Swiss are building a massive tunnel under the Alps for all the transit traffic. they don't want it on their roads anymore.

China has recently built more rail miles the we ever had!

Rail isn't just for the future, it is the future

Anonymous said...

This is indeed an uplifting book and is now on my wish list. However, the Government needs to do so much more to make the re-opening of railway lines easier. Even in ‘no brainer’ cases such as the Swanage branch it will be over 40 years after closure that it finally re-opens in full. Crazy. Also, many local authorities have realised far too late the importance of protecting disused lines from piecemeal redevelopment.

Anonymous said...

If you look carefully at the track diagram in Templecombe SB you can still see traces of the old S&D tracks on it.

Freddie said...

This week the trains have been absolutely full to bursting with people going to Glastonbury. That's even with FGW putting on extra trains to Castle Cary and lengthing the Weymouth trains to 4 coaches. Re-open the line to Pilton, and you can make a packet! It will be a good earner for the revived S&D.

Sunshiner said...

Well the S&D route runs right through the site so it certainly should become an S&D prime location with a platform - but bear in mind that it is only once a year with one flow in and one out. The bread and butter daily freight and passenger traffic will be more important and there's certainly a strong case for the city of Wells and the large town of Glastonbury to be reconnected to the network sooner rather than later!