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!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

bath green park

(Photo courtesy Jim Type, copyright R E Toop)

The S&D was lucky in having a terminus at each end, though Bath Green Park was always a little cramped! As well as the S&D it also served the Mangotsfield line and points beyond via the east to west curve there.

This other route did an excellent job of taking pressure off the Bath to Bristol GWR main line, as well as serving places that the GW never reached. Part of this route is preserved as the Avon Valley Railway, which is hoping to extend closer in towards Bath. The original intention of the group that became the Avon Valley Railway was to operate a commuter route with a heritage aspect. This idea was probably about thirty years' ahead of its time, but the rest of the world has now just about caught up with those early visionaries!

As the S&D pushes up from Midford we intend to restore right into Bath, with connections to the network at both Limpley Stoke and in Bath itself - each single track carrying traffic in one direction only.

But of course Bath Green Park really needs to become the ultimate destination. This will increase capacity and flexibility, and form an excellent headquarters for both the S&D and a booming AVR. Of course parts of this roiute have been encroached on slightly, and there is even now possible future development near the route, but none of this will be a problem in an energy-poor future. On the other side of the equation the station and its roof have been wonderfully preserved - the platform area is currently a car park, so only has a limited lifespan in that capacity.

We also intend to restore the Bristol to Radstock via Pensford route, to give even greater capacity and flexibility at the northern end of our line.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The content of this article is historically correct and in all probability achievable but it is going to be a very long haul.