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 06, 2011

more midford

The floor in the station building has deformed considerably since 1966 - it will need to be totally relaid.

This was the original way in to the station, from the small lane that runs above it. The steps are now cleared, I suspect we'll need to add a handrail on the side when the station is open again.

After a morning with the strimmer, Tom and Stuart have recreated the classic look of S&D cuttings and embankments. If everything fell apart tomorrow this single recreation will have made the whole effort worthwhile! A year ago this was a small wood.

One of the classic S&D views that clearance of the bank now reveals. In the middle distance, slightly to the right, is an overbridge that served the Camerton-Limpley Stoke line. This shot really brings home what the S&D was all about - a main line running through England's finest scenery. We really have the bit between our teeth now, can it really be that many years before trains are running through the site again?

As a visitor forecefully said yesterday 'This is crazy. This should be the main tourist attraction in this part of the world'.

Given a few years' time we'll turn the clock both back and forwards, and make sure that is exactly what it does become, as well as a top notch service for freight and passengers all along the route.
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1 comment:

Brian said...

One of the local residents I talked with whilst he was out for a walk through the station noticed the steps had been cleared and remarked he remembered them from when the railway was operating, as he was a frequent passenger then. Apparently the wicket gate at bottom of steps had some kind of sign indicating private or staff only or similar so that passengers had to arrive or depart at platform end beside the signal box.

Its not helpful that photographs taken down that end back then typically concentrate on the "track" side of things. This means its not entirely clear how passengers got in or out there, with the pub car park having erased everything. Of course the steps may indeed have been used for public passenger access during a previous era of the station history.

The "long" gate at the top suggests to me that the small bit of flat(ish) land up there has at one time or another had a use which no trace of remains. I wondered if perhaps allotment gardens might have existed there? It does seem to catch useful amounts of sunshine when been cleared a bit.

A walk along the Camerton Branch nearby offers more lovely views, when looking towards the old Somersetshire Coal Canal in particular. Its a farm access road not a public right of way though and some beehives too, so just be discreet and so forth. Oh and wear your wellies for the cow poo. (Example photo of view sent to Steve).