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, October 07, 2011

midford musings






We had a visitor from Marlborough on Wednesday who simply couldn't understand why the S&D wasn't preserved as a prime tourist attraction in the south west. I suspect that will be a question that comes to the fore regularly over the next few years! What were they thinking? Not only would the S&D have been a tourist attraction in its own right, but would also LINK dozens of tourist facilities up and down the route, from the superb Georgian city of Bath, through the magnificent Lyncombe Vale and Midford Valley (surely the finest scenery in England?), the Mining Museum at Radstock, Shepton Mallet, Wincanton racecourse, the villages of the Stour Valley and the UK's finest seaside resort at Bournemouth, as well as dozens of other little gems en route.

And he was also amazed that this tiny thread of land through the station could easily carry 14 coach expresses and long freights, keeping traffic off the roads. In the fifties, on busy summer Saturdays, the stretch of single line through Midford up to Bath saw an endless succession of trains. The S&D was a superb piece of engineering - I think it's only problem was that it was a century ahead of its time!

Of course all this is now changing and within a few decades the S&D WILL become the leading tourist attraction in the south west as well as providing a superb freight and passenger service to the people and businesses and towns and villages along its route.

The S&D is clearly a line whose time has come!
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again I am writing to say how much I agree with your visitor.
The withdrawal of through expresses,together with the increase in the availability of cheap motor cars,was the betrayal of the line.

Sunshiner said...

Heavily subsidised road transport against railways that were expected to pay their way in pure eceonomic terms! Crazy that we allowed this to happen.