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!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

england's smallest city

(Photo courtesy Jim Type, copyright C L Caddy Collection)

One of the hardest S&D stations to get pictures of is Wells Priory Road, and even this one doesn't actually show the station. Befitting its status as a city - even if it is England's smallest - Wells once had three stations. Now  it doesn't even have one!

Wells S&D was at the end of a branch from Glastonbury, running rather against the flow of traffic, which probably explains its early closure in 1953. Of course Wells kept a passenger service on its other line, the Yatton to Witham Friary line. for another 10 or 11 years.

Wells will of course need trains again in the near future as the road network starts to fail us. Whilst the Cheddar Valley route will probably be a prime candidate for reopening - it has been conveniently maintained almost throughout as a cycleway, deliberately preserving the trackbed for future rail use - a Glastonbury to Wells link will almost certainly follow.

Wells is a lovely city with plenty to attract tourists, but its current lack of a railway station is extraordinary. Hopefully that situation will change sooner rather than later!


Knoxy said...

is that building in the background still there in Wells today?

will said...

Assuming this was taken from the tucker st/burcot road station,not priory road, yes it is, it is a buisness unit here:


(behind halfords)
The track has been made into the relief road. A less cluttered view here:


Knoxy said...


even the sign on the building is in S&D colours. well BR Southern....

the first view is the old route for sure. i have driven along it a few years back. going in the opposite direction of the train (UP or Down anyone?) the road comes to a set of traffic lights (left or right turn) and i assume the rail route continued straight on?

RailWest said...

There are quite a few reasonable pictures of Priory Road station already published. East Somerset is/was the really scarce station (as opposed to the loco shed etc).This view though is the western approach to the GWR Tucker Street station!