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 11, 2011

the rail revival message spreads

This is a press release issued today from the group that plans to reopen SALTFORD station - please try to attend!

Saltford Station Campaign.
Saltford Environment Group was formed about four months ago by a group of like minded residents to raise awareness of a nationwide initiative called 'Transition Towns' which aims to prepare communities for a 'post oil' world. With fossil fuels becoming more scarce and prices rocketing, many experts feel we have reached 'Peak Oil' and need to adapt quickly in order to reduce the shock of a post oil economy.
In the last six months the government announced it is going to electrify Brunel's Great Western Mainline from London Paddington through to Cardiff. This will be a massive infrastructure project, and will eventually see electric trains running through Bath, Keynsham and Saltford.
This is an opportunity that is too good to miss for Saltford. Electric trains mean faster acceleration and deceleration which means quicker timings and gaps in the timetable for re opened stations. We as a group felt the time was right to start a campaign to get our station back. Indeed, Paul Crossley, the new leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, has already mentioned Saltford as one of the stations he'd like to see re opened! I have spoken to Roger Symonds who is a cabinet member with the transport brief and he is very keen also.
 With the ever increasing cost of private motoring, a re opened station gives the residents of Saltford a vital and environmentally friendly transport asset that will 'future proof' the village. Many residents commute to Bath, Bristol, London and beyond. Saltford has quite a large student population who attend universities all over the country, Portsmouth, Birmingham etc.. Many people visit the village, a railway station will give people the option to visit without using the car.
We see the station as a small community facility. Not a vast 'Park and ride' set up. Many people will be able to access the station on foot as there is a comprehensive network of footpaths that the victorians put in place when the station was opened in 1841. It could open up the station site and turn it into a small business park or other village amenity.
 It is with all this in mind we would like to give notice of a public meeting at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 26th July at Saltford Hall to discuss the possibility of a re opened station and to invite residents of Saltford along to express their support. Roger Symonds will be there as will members of Saltford Parish Council.
There will be a question and answer session too.  [T]here will be available soon a 'Saltford' mug, bearing the original British Railways Western Region chocolate and cream Totem, which will be sold to raise funds for the campaign.

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