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, September 04, 2011

seeds of change

(All pics copyright Gail Coleshill)

Gail is one of the volunteer gardeners at Midsomer Norton and sent these excellent pictures of some of the flowers and plants that are now covering the site. Midsomer Norton always was famous for its floral displays and it's great that the tradition lives on. I know that some of the flowers around site have actually seeded year after year and can be traced all the way back to the original S&D! She's very pleased that things have been growing so well despite the lack of rain. Our own garden at home has bloomed well this year, with reseeded flowers from last year popping up in the most surprising places!

With the greenhouse also providing plants Midsomer Norton is set to surpass its 50s and 60s glories.

The built environment today is pretty ugly in many places. Even the network railways with their security fencing and utilitarian buildings have a lot to do to recover their previous aesthetic appeal - but I suspect beauty will reappear everywhere once the oil runs out. The private railways have their part to play in this, by making travel an attractive experience (which of course the roads and airlines will never do) they will encourage more and more people to abandon the old fashioned and ugly alternatives. All rail journeys should be a memorable experience and something that we all strive to do as much as possible. Of course the S&D has a huge head start in this because the built environment is so attractive but, even more, the scenery through which we run is amazing. The forgotten years have not really changed any of this, if anything has made us even more determined to make the S&D the finest line in England again.
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Brian said...

As I gotten older learned to appreciate flowers much more to point of annoying hunky male pub drinkin buddies caked in muck after our mine explores, by showing (equally mucked) females some my recent flower piccies on camera screen. Thats just not allowed for blokes, what a wuss LOL. Must be influence of dear departed mother showing through.She just lived for flowers. Lets see them take over much of built environment, sixties hippies had a good point there. Well lets hope "The Man" agrees, if can figure out a way to make big profit from flowers I suppose.

Anyone else noticed fast rate of tree growth and almost comedic massive size theyre achieving along old railway routes? Have a look eg along Midland line from Bitton to Riverside, wow. Planet is valiantly attempting to heal itself by these superb processors of our waste CO2 into our vital for life oxygen. Maybe we just better let em keep on flourishing.

Toddington Ted said...

Very inspirational photos of a beautiful (once more) station and gardens. Well done! Let's hope we can make Broadway Station as good!