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, July 21, 2011

midsomer norton station demolished!!!

Who'd have thought it? Midsomer Norton station in the act of being demolished ...

Don't worry, this isn't the iconic S&D station but Midsomer Norton's other station which was on the Bristol to Frome line. This vandalism took place in 1970.

But this COULD have happened at the S&D station if Nick Howes and Shirley Steel hadn't saved the site for heritage use at the start of the 1990s. We owe them a huge amount of respect for having the foresight and energy to fight for the site, against seemingly impossible odds. It was this turning point for the S&D which partly inspired the New S&D.


Brian said...

Magic number "72"

This bit of text rather "stood out" in otherwise dull economic writers piece put up by Auntie today:

"We're worried about depleting resources. If you want to know how much oil we'd be using if global consumption rose by, oh let's say a mere 2% a year, divide 72 by two. That's about 36 years before consumption would double. So if you think demand creates pressures now...

It's easy to underestimate the speed at which small changes add up. The rule of 72 spells it out. It shows that what often really matters are not one-off big numbers but small numbers that go on.

The rule of 72 helps clarify half the serious economic issues of the day. Compared with a famous joke, this is a dull practicality. But boy it's one really useful dull practicality."

I think this works both way, dont it? Like if lots of little eager beavers chivvy away at brewing fartgas/biofuels, lots of wee electron harvesters poke their feeble surplus into national grid at home or workplace, it really does add up as I suspected to a useful total contribution.

Also if all of us just think a little bit about how we could waste fuel/power less in our daily routines, this also can in total tweak down our peak oil woes.

Maybe thats another social outcast group then. The ones who go drag racing or leave all the factory lights switched on twenty four seven etc etc. Po-face warning though, I fear hippocritterpotty awooga hooter.

Did I just contradict my previous observation on not doing that social outcast thing so much? Yes, we are all stuffed full of contradiction and confusion. Its sorting that out which is the challenge, not like the politicians do bullying everyone to always be "on message" all the time. Nodding donkey yesmen dont solve problems well. Thats where the original idea for "think tank" came from, a space for permission to think without reflexive punishments.

Full "72" text here, if you dare risk lose yer will to live:

Oi, turn off that idling motor, buddy !
Shaddup, I'm charging me mobile, right?

Newsflash ! Souterain has won the S&D Bath Junction Points photo challenge I set him on Flickr. See his excellent 7-2011 mugshot of location today:


And see how well he matched my mugshot taken 19-5-11:


This blows my id on Flickr (which has been driving some nuts, I know) but reckon its well worth that !

If the photo challenge bores you rigid but maybe fancy seeing how S&D Bath Jc looked in 1972, take a peek here:


Already, a third photo challenge is in mind but must wait a bit as other things are taking up my time in short term. What fun though.

Knoxy said...

anyone can demolish something. it's a lot harder to build.

that period will go down in history as such a waste of time. white heat of technology, my arse!

Beeching, Marples, Wilson and Heath, what wasters?

Brian said...

A "sweetener" crane at "Western Riverside"

The steam crane which used to run along its own track beside the large transhipment shed at BR Bath Midland Goods sidings in 1960's has been returned to Bath, where is now displayed on a stub of track near entrance to Western Riverside redevelopment.

Those folk who choose to live in the hideously ugly "1950's East Germany" style legobrick apartment blocks may not necessarily share the enthusiasm of Banes Cllr Chalker, who hints at the hard work involved negotiating this and describes as "a dream come true". However they will know its there and just have to "like it or lump it" in their eyeballs every day. For those of us who remember this Stotherts built crane from the old days, its like a sweetener for bitter pill of grim towerblocks, being as is so prominently placed not tucked away half in shame.

In celebration of this event, I have put one of my "then and now" Compo piccies up on Flickr featuring this old soldier when she had a burnt box van cripple for company after closure of Bath Gasworks in early 1970's, contrasted with her slightly edgy first Bath re-appearance during July of 2011. There seems as much work still needed on this crane, as required on the new building behind her. Impetus hopefully will be there to see both "nicely detailed".

This crane was a familiar sight to me stood rather forlorn at Washford on West Somerset Rly, waiting for boiler repairs which never got done. It would be really great to eventually extend the track stub enough to have this crane grumbling her gears & chuntering slowly along the roadside verge sometimes. That would give those who resent the view a bit of a break if left parked further along until next time.

Hey, she could even help load up any cars which chavs may dump there on drunken weekends, for lorry removal to pound. But maybe Bath & Banes are not yet (collectively) quite ready for that. We know how they feel about rails in public roads and things which move along them, however slowly.

Steamgcrane Compo here:


Crane departing from Washford, it was there more than 40 years:


The Chron's take on it:


Anonymous said...

All this 72 stuff is nonsense. It's just yet more lazy journalism by the BBC who are obviously trying to 'liven' up their painfully dull website. Definitely a case of 'think of the number you want to end up with, think of the number you want to start with and then come up with a wacko formula to link the two together'. The last time I heard this sort of dross was when someone was trying to convince me that the start date of World War I was encrypted in the bible. They were not amused when, with a slight change, to the formula I arrived at my birth date.

Brian said...

China lightning disaster

China is internationally recognised now as a leader in design and build of high speed trains and their dedicated lines, so a recent freak accident should be of interest for any lessons to be learned therefrom. Also for whether the fallout may dent their bright shiny image as respected consultants and/or contractors (as for example upcoming in USA fast rail new build plans bullhorned by Obama).

I did not linger long reading what Auntie said about the lightning disaster but there is a quite objective, informative piece about it by Yahoo this morning. It has the advantage of being written just long enough after the event for confirmed detail to be included. Also the inevitable "political putting to the sword" of rail Top Personages so as to encourage the others as it were, not to fail in post too. Thats how its done in China.

Rail safety has always advanced by "counting tombstones" so perhaps this will ratchet one more step when its all trawled through in detail. Full text is here: