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!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

midford oil store

These are the initial plans for the Midford oil store drawn up by Tom Seale. The dimensions are based on a site survey, where the oil store was is still obvious, especially now the platform area has been cleared.

One advantage is that one wall is still in position - the rear wall which also serves as a retaining wall!

All being well the oil store should be rebuilt in a few months' time, hopefully the wall, door and window being built in a weekend, with the roof to follow the following weekend. As always volunteers to help with all aspects of this should contact me on leysiner@aol.com asap so we can put the team together for this one smallish project well in advance.
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Brian said...

Tough choices for the fossil fuel hunters these days; controversial "fracking" in Lancashire could provide significant amounts of gas. My guess is it will be done no matter what the greenheads put up by way of objections:


Sunshiner said...

Tough choice indeed! This really underlines just how desperate the search for energy has become, as fracking is an environmental disaster and provides very little net energy simply because of the amount of energy that is needed just to get at the stuff, which provides far more expensive energy in any case.

Not sure what a 'greenhead' is but I suspect there will be a lot of objections from locals in the area as this process devastates landscapes. We really can't afford to even contemplate doing this, it's interesting that the company MD seems to be American, which says it all really!

Bear in mind also that Peak Oil theory takes all this non-conventional energy (both discovered and undiscovered) into account when calculating the peak. This sort of thing only delays the peak by months or a few years at most.

And this is without even looking at the extra CO2 it will produce, further damaging our increasingly fragile climate, and the terrible waste of water involved.

As I said, all very desperate.

David B said...

Fracking can do this to water supplies:


Don't smoke by your sink.

Brian said...

Sorry I am guilty of inventing words without providing proper definitions.

A "greenhead" would be an activist of the slick and pro-active variety who are of good intent but so much "in our faces" that they risk becoming tiresome. They are single issue tunnel vision people (and organisations) because of course thats the only way to get any significant result.

Folks dont like to be constantly frightened by what greens have to say, it puts them off enjoying their shiny fossil fuel powered toys. Something like, Lord help me to be more perfect - but not yet.

Brian said...

High scrap prices wreck Clapham Junction

To protect a local underground quarry, an entrance constriction "ArchWall" has recently been completed by those who care. I was checking this for possible damage at 2pm on a weekday when surprised a group of scrap opportunitsts taking out the old quarry rails.

These had been torn out from well known location, "Clapham Junction" probably ruining it forever as an historic time capsule, then dragged all the way from Longs Gallery to the ArchWall. This only just prevented final removal from the quarry, and without going into detail the rails have all been "secured" since. A further defensive wall is nearly complete and those concerned about similar damage to other underground features warn, its a problem unlikely to go away for a considerable time.

So you can see its not just the high price of fuel, its not just copper signal wires being thieved from mainline tracksides, not just loads of street drain covers vanishing. Anything historic needs protection. But the most sad aspect has been negative reaction from police when told about these quarry rails being removed. Even though they are supposedly in the middle of a crackdown on scrap thefts, their sole interest was (I have been told) trying to misrepresent those attempting to protect the quarry relics as doing something wrong.

Arising from this, I do hope the oil store design for Midford includes some "belt and braces" security features especially for the door and window. I do not know how the station building can really be made secure as its primarily timber, though I have actually heard of such structures being welded up from steel plate, with suitably placed holes, then clad on both sides with timber. Oh but then the blighters would want to steal the platework (droll).

Sunshiner said...

The window and door will be designed to be extremely secure but saying that it's unlikely that anything of great value will be stored there.

The station building will also have modern security features but again there will not be a great deal of valuable material within - the shop part may need a safe or something for the most valuable stock items.

But we can't let worries about security prey on our minds too much, or we'll never get anything done ...

Sunshiner said...

Ah, greenheads! Fortunately Peak Oil theorists tend to regard all greens as idiots as they are constantly on about us using less fuel - as if we'll have the option! I have had MANY run ins with them in the past!

They HATE Peak Oil theory with a passion, mainly because it's true but also because it'll throw most of them onto the scrapheap as things get really bad.

Knoxy said...

its sort of ironic that we are rebuilding an oil store, just when we are running out of the stuff.....

maybe we should rename it as the 'Midford Wood store'?

Brian said...

The most effective form of security is to be having people on site doing things, talking to people passing through, making good use of the facilities. A sense of a place being occupied and cared for sees off a lot of opportunists, who cause damage just to see whats inside buildings. They dont know if its valuable, having not "cased the joint" previously, or may have different views on it depending how they imagine themselves selling it on. Books and model railways (parts of) do get stolen from time to time. But I agree that paranoia should not rule over the undertaking.

Its a mistake to think these are new problems. The Sadler Vectrail railcar project was bugged by damage way back then (who now even remembers it?) ending up with the experimental vehicle being burnt out. I guess there just was nobody there to shoo the teenage yobs away when they showed up !

Sunshiner said...

I remember Sadler Vectrail, an idea about four decades ahead of its time! Plan was to reopen the Cowes line on the IOW and use railcars. The car was based somewhere on the Meon Valley railway, closed in 1955 but a stretch of about six miles was left in situ (although not connected to the network) where the railcar was trialled.

Tom Seale said...

A couple of pics of the oil store...



If anyone has any more that'd be useful.

Knoxy said...

i have now just spent the last ten minutes reading about the Meon Valley Railway, and the Sadler Vectrail idea...

would be quite useful now!

i like the pictures of the oil store. can the view off the platform be re-created, 1950's style?

Sunshiner said...

Like Brian my mind's full of little bits of obscure 60s, 70s and 80s railway stuff!

I'm sure we can recreate the 50s look at Midford!