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!

Friday, July 29, 2011

take a look ...

(Photo copyright Tulki Jenkins)

This is a fantastic shot of Midford from the air, taken back in March. It shows very clearly just how much clearance has taken place at the site. It also gives a good idea of the lushness of the countryside we will be running through. It also gives a very good idea of just how easy it will be to physically put the line back in. That day is getting closer and closer!


Brian said...

For those of us who keep feet always on ground, this photo reminds that combination of easy high quality digital photography and more popular recreational flying has removed most privacy we once enjoyed in our gardens or on other private land. When weather is reasonable to good, at intervals can be heard distinctive sound of aeronautical progress in sky overhead. Previously before snooping internet of Google Earth cameras, all we typically saw was an occasional doorstep hawker of stupidly highpriced homestead mugshots taken from hot air ballon or light aircraft, often totally rubbish quality. Now we better "have our pants on" in every sense, even when nip outside just to water the horticulture!

Sunshiner said...


To be honest, if an aerial shot from this distance could cause you embarrassment when enjoying the open air in a state of deshabillé I would respectfully suggest that you pursue a career in the pornography industry!

Anonymous said...

Tom and I ill be down there again today (Sun 31 July) to clear the remainder of the platform.
Stuart Seale

Anonymous said...

That's a very impressive shot! I can imagine the tracks on the viaduct - signalbox back at Midford - the whole shebang.

Next stop Radstock?

Anonymous said...

A marvelous place but never seemingly attractive to Ivo Peters.
Looking through his publications it never seemed to grab him,
not like,say,Devonshire Bank or Midford.


Sunshiner said...

Perhaps he was worried about leaving his Bentley in a mining town whilst he took pictures ...

Anonymous said...

Please don't knock the miners.Many of
them were God fearing Methodists although,as in any society,there were some bad characters.
The collieries were one of the main reasons for the Bath extension and there were very few there when Ivo was at his most prolific.

Sunshiner said...

I wasn't knocking the miners! Just suggesting that class rivalries and jealousies in the 1950s and 1960s may have led to some members of the community looking aghast at a symbol of upper class 'oppression' in their midst LOL!

I'm from a very working class background and I'm well aware of some of this sort of stuff which went on when I was a kid in the sixties!

Anonymous said...

What is the situation with the trackbed between Midford and Radstock? Is it in private hands - built on - generally buggered up, or is there any chance of getting it back?

I can't help thinking a run to Radstock would be fantastic, and presumably there'd be an opportunity to link up with the Midsomer Norton guys too?

Sunshiner said...

The entire S&D is rebuildable, otherwise we wouldn't exist! The section from Bath to Radstock is one of the clearest sections with no blockages as far as I'm aware. Even if there were we'd simply bypass or use compulsory purchase. Most of the land is in private hands (including ours!) but inevitably the viaducts and heavy engineering features are generally held by BR Residual but we've no interest in taking on the liabilities for these structures until we can provide a train service over or through them for obvious reasons.

Obviously once we've reached Radstock the link up with Midsomer Norton (and restoration beyond Chilcompton) will be the next step, although there will also be development of the line from Blandford south and on the Highbridge branch, all part of phase one.

Anonymous said...

Well that sounds genuinely exciting.

I appreciate that the line is intended to be a central part of a modern transport infrastructure and not just a nostalgia line, (nothing wrong with those b.t.w.) so that all presupposes connections at Bath, Cole, Templecombe etc. to realise that objective.

Is Network Rail on board with the concept? Perhaps it's too early in the day for them to take it seriously - such bodies are often staffed by dim-witted jobsworths who don't do the vision thing!

Rather wish I lived in Somerset or Dorset - this sounds like a great project.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Answering the question about the route Midford-Radstock:

From Midford to Wellow it's very clear, currently in use as a cycle route - a very worthwhile custodian for the time being.
Wellow to Shoscombe is pretty well obliterated - built on, cuttings infilled etc., although many bridges are still intact. The remaining arches of a bridge at Shoscombe Vale has been converted into a house! The Google Streets screenshot is an old view: http://ow.ly/64KcV. Through Radstock itself it's built on, of course, but then clear through to 'Norton. The arch over Somervale Road just beyond "Five Arches" is gone and the line to 'Norton is being converted to a cycleway - the "Five Arches Greenway". As said before, a worthwhile interim custodian maintaining it as a through route. http://www.flickr.com/groups/1654441@N22/