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!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

midford update

These two excellent shots of Midford appeared in the Railway Magazine for April 1964, and show shots on 6 June 1963 and 1 February 1964. There's excellent detail here of the buildings etc. (Photos are courtesy of Trevor Eastwood, photographers are E T Gill and D H Ballantyne).

We had a small meeting here in Bristol to discuss the next steps with Midford. Both Tom and Stuart Seale were present, they have done most of the work up there.

The next step is to apply for planning permission for the whole site. Tom has agreed to draw the plans up. Hopefully we'll be applying in the next month or so. The first step once we have planning permission will be to rebuild the oil store which will serve as a secure store for tools, leaflets etc. Then we'll rebuild the station building. It will be rebuilt as closely as possible externally to how it was in the early 50s, before the canopy was destroyed in an accident. Internally it will function as an information centre and a New S&D office, so there will probably only be one internal partition. There will be display boards on the S&D, the other restoration groups on the route plus Washford, information on climate change, peak oil, modern transport systems and future energy sources, together with a shop area selling books and other items on the S&D, general railways and peak oil, climate change etc. The information area will hopefully also include a working model of the station as it was in the old S&D days.

We will also need to get water and electricity back on site. The rebuilding of the station will move us to a whole new level of funding etc, so the restoration will need to go hand in hand with a very big promotional push in the railway and local press.

If you have the skills and enthusiasm to help us in this next stage please do get in touch (email leysiner@aol.com or phone 0117 3738973).

When the Two Tunnels route is opened (next March is the target) Midford station and the Hope and Anchor pub will become much busier. We plan to put lockable cycle racks near the station building, emphasising our commitment to the future and sustainable transport.

Of course we shall also be repeating everything we've done at Midford down at Spetisbury, all being well!
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Brian said...

Those 1960's RM photos still turn up in my recycling paper here, anything thats A4 size with one side blank is kept for eventual further use. It might seem an odd thing to have in quantity, but they are the promo duds from Gerald Creed's past and controversial effort at Midford complete with his header style emblazoned over the top. Like they say, what goes around comes around ! And back then of course, recycling was "eccentric" which got me a reputation for being "mean" or "miserly" with the "normal" wastrels of those times. What do they now habitually do with their waste? They have been "educated".....

Anonymous said...

"It will be rebuilt as closely as possible externally to how it was in the early 50s, before the canopy was destroyed in an accident......"

What accident was that then please?