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

spetisbury returns to the menu

(Click for larger view!)

New S&D member Dean Cockwell has taken on the task on moving forward our plans for Spetisbury. Unlike Midford, where we own the land, Spetisbury is owned by Dorset County Council, so we would only be leasing the site.

The initial plans for Spetisbury is to restore the buildings and open the site as a southern information centre for the route. But Spetisbury is a far less cramped site than Midford, it was also on a double track section of route. This does suggest that it may be viable to lay at least single track eventually, which will give the site more of a railway feel.

Although we've not given a lot of thought to what the information offices will contain, it's probable that there will be information boards, perhaps a model railway, some sales items and also a lot of info and books on the wider issues of Peak Oil and Climate Change, as well as railway items. There will also of course be lots of information on the other S&D groups at Midsomer Norton, Shillingstone, Gartell and Washford.

We expect that the two information offices will serve to push the New S&D to the next level, with a lot more publicity, engagement with the community and a lot of new members joining. They will also be an excellent opportunity for members to work together on the nuts and blots work of rebuilding these tiny bits of the S&D.
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1 comment:

Knoxy said...

Having stood on those platforms back in Feb 2009, when Steve and I had a photographic ramble along that section, i can just picture in my mind how good it will look with their return. modern railways look ill at ease with their palisade fencing and overgrown lineside. its a good job we have the likes of the S&D to show how it can be done....