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, September 26, 2011

beyond spetisbury

Had a gem of an email today from Mick Knox.

Would it be possible to build a PWay trolley with a small wood burning steam engine as power?

I would like to find out about the possibilities of building one with a small diesel engine capable of running on chip oil etc and thought a steam version would be great?

Anything like that would generate a bit of interest and publicise the S&D, together with idea of low cost travel. Planting the seed, so to speak, for modern railcars designed on basic, cost effective, low running cost principles. Not the air conditioned, sealed units of today?

 If it was light enough it could visit other lines etc.

I’m sure a steam PWay trolley, would look great puffing along the track at MSN, or Spetisbury or in the Midford Valley, towards Wellow? It would draw a crowd?

Do you know anyone with that sort of knowledge, without giving some other line the idea? It would need to be quite light so it can travel by road (yet more publicity) on a trailer to site. I know one of the volunteers at MSN brings his small digger on a trailer, so I’m thinking that sort of scale….

What do you reckon? Mad?
Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Brian said...

Of course its not mad to make a little steam contraption. Has been done on narrow gauge (a vertical boiler in a Lister loco springs to mind but a little research would reveal many others) and with the wheels about same diameter just on longer axles, a standard gauge PW trolley is not significantly different. Model engineers could be your friends on this one, if they are a bit broad minded, as could some of the marine steam engine people. Maybe you need to make a few new friends to get this up and running, possibly join a club or two?

Its quite close to tradition of what has been called a "Gentleman's Light Sporting Locomotive" as used on Col Stephens empire. Popularity is assured where this is operated, however you need to have effective brakes and consider tedious things like insurance, whether its going to pull passengers or have them ride on it (or not). People will want to interact with it like gleeful overgrown children unaware of potential dangers. A diesel is a diesel whatever it runs on so folks will just shrug, but a little steam engine can make proper loud whistle calls amongst the chuntering sounds.

Get your gear ratios sorted to rail speed and ideally designed to be retrospectively changed depending on whats wanted at locations. A longer line may want a faster steed. Crowds on the line dictate a snails pace.