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!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

remember 1972?

This is an interesting shot just acquired by the Rail Thing. It shows loco 210479 at Radstock back in 1972.

This is the first copyright picture I've acquired of any of the previous preservation attempts on our line. The Somerset and Dorset Circle had an excellent plan to restore the Radstock to Writhlington section of the S&D main line in the seveties, but it was killed off by a very shortsighted council. Imagine if the Mining Museum at Radstock could offer a steam trip up to Writhington with more mining exhibits there! Imagine the extra jobs and money it would bring to the community. Perhaps a revival of this scheme could be a next step for the New S&D? It would give us a working length of railway with a purpose and fill in one more gap on the strategic Radstock to Bath route. And bring all those jobs and money into Radstock ....


Anonymous said...

Yes, you'd only have to destroy a memorial park, a sheltered housing development, a few dozen homes and an industrial estate. Piece of cake.


For credibility's sake, perhaps something a little less controversial might be more suitable for your "next step".

Sunshiner said...

The next step will be somewhere where the land is cheap, where the local authorities support what we're doing and where it fits in with the bigger picture ie providing a useful service that provides jobs, brings money into the local economy and gets people thinking about the future of the S&D.

All suggestions as to an ideal site for this next step welcome - especially from people with local knowledge!

Sunshiner said...

Thanks for the link, which shows the trackbed remarkably clear except for the last 300 metres or so.

There's no way a one and a half mile line would be able to economically purchase houses and an industrial estate, so the option of running from the other side of the obstruction is the obvious answer at this location. Getting a line THROUGH Radstock will obviously take longer and a few million for compulsory purchase, again not even thinkable for a small line but hardly a problem for a hundred mile line!

Paul Cullum said...

Its crazy.....the council was not interested in railways in the 70's...and its now 2011 and guess what...B&NES council are STILL not interested in connecting Radstock back to the rail network, rather they would go with a destructive new road that rips the very heart out of what is one of the best preserved mining towns we have..and then build houses on the last bit of remaining railway land there...the road money still talks im afraid...t i think there was a huge missed opportunity when Writhlington closed to have made use of the old track layout to build a museum to the mining history of the area...which sadly has been largly ignored...such a shame...

Brian said...

Oh dear, its Ruston & Hornsby "anorak" time on blog photo comment.

Loco shown Radstock 1972 is longer version of 48DS as used by Dickinsons paper mill then for a time at Bitton in early days preservation there, frame only lingering as weedkiller tank wagon (its repungnant but they did & may still use there). These longer wb RH's I dont know class name for unless find & riffle Tonks IRS bible book but who cares, just a more powerful engine to pull more trucks with.

Note bearing shield plates to stop them moving sideways but let them go up or down for uneven track. The angled struts you can see are turnbuckles which adjust wheelbase to tension the drive chains. You have to get it same both sides or axles are out of line pulling left or right. Boxes can slide along their leaf springs, you see.

Was the quoted loco number in fact an RH makers number, not a service running number? It looks about right for Lincoln series to me.

Among many spares sent to Bitton with the little RH were interesting preheater plugs for starting on bitter cold days, you basically set fire to em then screw home into engine. Often wondered how well they work on "large" diesels, onlys seen it done with old Dorman (2HW)Simplex at Launceston using newspaper soaked in saltpetre as charges for glowplugs. Or you could go the fetish route of volatile aromatics, ether, spraycan "Easistart", woah. Never try both at once....

Gearbox was I think same as in 48DS, just like used in my 2ft gauge 20DL RH. All gears are constantly in mesh with wet (oil bath) clutch plates, you pull a big lever into one of three slots to get her moving with a tweak of throttle or more if pulling something. Must go all the way into slot though or wears out clutches. I know youre all fast asleep now so must get on with other stuff, sorry. Maybe Steve will spoil us with nice "new" steam loco archive pic in due course. As a diesel heretic, crucify me on this local BDSM blog if you fancy:


Reckon Steve has concerns I'm too modest about nudity. It werent me in that recent blog page yer Ludships. Theres some comment about possible damage to fragile historic quarry railway winch wagon & standing timber cranes. Lifes rich tapestry, whatever.

Brian said...

More scenes of Rails along the Road.

Railway Magazine Sept 2011 issue (currently in my local WHS newsagent shop) shows a wonderful photo remarkably similar to those of railway along public road with fat little puggy steam engines at Farnborough, covered in this blog June 18th & 24th 2011. Its a preservation scene with mock goods trains "periodically run on the old Dockyard lines by North Kent Industrial Loco Society volunteers".

Closest to camera is Aveling & Porter geared steam loco Sydenham built in 1895. Just behind but running cab first is a Peckett 0-4-0 saddle tank. Its so recently fixed up, is still in grey primer paint. There are several other small engines kept at Chatham, including some which worked entire lives at the Dockyard. As its not a passenger railway, the rolling stock is all of course for decoration now, or more properly called "demonstration purposes".

There was once an 18in narrow gauge system at the Dockyard, with strong administrative links to the huge setup at RAR Woolwich "back in the day". The same RM 9-2011 issue also has a photo of sole surviving RAR Avonside steam loco (they had scads of those) which just moved from Waltham Abbey Powdermills to a pumping station. More on that here:


I can well remember rides behind this Avonside beast at Bicton Woodland in Devon when visting as a kiddy in short pants. Its motion has been aptly described as "like an elephant balancing on a cricket ball" however is not doing that trick now whilst static with no line & about to be taken apart "for overhaul".

Those little electric passenger feeder tramways which Steve is keen on might possibly work well as 18ins gauge though 24ins would be more stable. Metre gauge starts to get almost as expensive as putting in standard gauge, but hey what do I know am just Bozo, right ?

Knoxy said...

"destroy a memorial park, a sheltered housing development, a few dozen homes and an industrial estate"

they'll go eventually when the country realises its needs a guided and more fuel efficient transport system than roads and oil. (local railways).

we don't need HS2 at the moment, just lots of SS&L. (slow speed and local).

BertieBeatlefan said...

Thinking of HS1 a moment. It cost £6Bn and Cameron sold it it to the Canadians for £2.1Bn, declaring it was 'good for the taxpayer' Really? Did this jerk ever do 'hard sums' at school. let alone easy ones? Bumbling Boris has just done the same sort of deal (to the Arabs I believe with the Olympic village? We need some serious changes in Government thinking to stop this lunacy. Was this theirs to sell even? I think not! All this means that if HS2 is built, then that will be sold for a pittance as well. Answer? Don't build the bloody thing!

Sunshiner said...

I just hope all the furore surrounding HS2 doesn't reflect on real railways. High Speed Rail will be okay ONCE all the local towns and villages have their lines back, that has to be the priority. Once the roads start dying we'll have to connect or towns and villages will empty of people and businesses, which will be disastrous. I'm not even 100% sure we'll NEED high speed rail, the world of the future is going to be much more localized and we simply may never travel more than a few hundred miles from home. Who knows, but the questions aren't even being asked ...