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, September 02, 2011

responsibility - and opportunity

The phone calls started a while ago. Normally from solicitors, but today from a  prospective buyer ...

They are always along the lines of 'I am thinking of buying a house in (S&D former station name). What are your plans and how long before trains are running?'

If nothing else it shows that people are beginning to take us seriously, and that the idea that the line will return is now becoming firmly fixed in the minds of at least some people.

And it's a difficult thing to answer. We have no plans or timescales for reinstatement, only a vague idea, because everything is basically in the hands of future events.

I do always stress that, even today when there are still alternatives, houses near stations always sell for more than those at a distance. So a railway station nearby is already a huge selling point.

Today's caller was more worried about heavy freights thundering past at the bottom of his garden. Of course eventually that will happen, but it may be decades yet.

I tried to explain that as the roads vanish he'll need the trains as much as anyone, he seemed to think he was somehow unique and would not need them!

I added that the track may not be back for ten or even twenty years, which seemed to please him, but will it really take that long? I'm beginning to wonder.

People are making life changing decsions around the future existence of the S&D. Surely that will convince even the doubters and dinosaurs that we are, to quite Take That, back for good ...
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1 comment:

Brian said...

Meanwhile, the minds of local politicians remain stuck firmly in the groove of bus and lanes for bus.....which they style as "rapid transit".

'Hare-brained bendy bus' - full story here:


BBC News 2 September 2011

An idea to increase business rates to pay for bendy bus routes in Bristol has been described as "barking mad".

Bristol City Council needs to raise £37m to contribute towards a £150m project for the rapid transit scheme.

But Guy Kingston from the Federation of Small Businesses said raising business rates or an alternative scheme for a workplace parking levy was "terrible".

I make no nitpicking commentary, merely draw attention to this item.