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!

Monday, July 18, 2011

memories - let's 'ave 'em!

(Photo copyright Rail Thing)

Don't forget that the New S&D does have an excellent website and content is ALWAYS required. One of the sections covers all the S&D stations and as well as historical, current and future information we also have a section on 'memories' which is gradually filling up. Latest is for Henstridge, this from Tony Wiles.

I love the picture. My brother and sister used to spend our summer holidays with our grandparents in Henstridge, they lived in Vale View and we could see part of the line from there. My brother and I were keen train spotters and the then Station Master Mr Wareham, who was a friend of my grandfathers who himself was once a train driver, would often allow us to stand on the platform. I remember how every day we would arrive in time to watch the Pines Express roar through. The station use to vibrate as it did so. We would also travel to Templecombe and spend all day on the platform noting steam train numbers.
Recently on a visit I walked around the area where the station used to be and really wished it could have still been there. Also went to Templecombe which although still open looked so small.

So if you do have memories and/or pictures of any S&D station please allow us to share them. Even after closure memories are more than welcome as it will all form part of the historic record of this amazing line. Simply email any info and pictures to leysiner@aol.com All info and pictures will of course be fully acknowledged.

The photo is from the Rail Thing archive collection which is gradually building up a full record of Britain's railways.

1 comment:

Brian said...

It is so often the human side of history that gets lost as is so fragile, typically dying with that generation who lived through it. Sometimes great tact is needed where memories in later stages of life flatly contradict official sources or others which can be verified. I feel its best presented just like the sample in this blog entry, warts and all so to speak. Much later when its respectfully possible (speaking in generalities not of any actual example) any contradiction can be plainly stated in an appendix without indicating which is "correct". Leave it lying in the laps of future readers like so much red herring. The value content is in folks memories, who really lived it.

I missed the whole S&D spectacular by just months arriving to live in Bath 1967. Very first day was spent briefly exploring already desecrated Green Park station with its rash of newly arrived parked cars, plus a vivid purple daubing, "God Damn You Beeching" which had to be patiently explained to young Bozo.