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, October 02, 2011

S&D comes to the GCR!

(Apologies that the picture doesn't show some ersatz S&D recreation, but I love this shot as it shows just how good the GCR is in recreating scenes from the past - surely the best qualification?)

The Great Central Railway's October 6-9 autumn steam gala will have a Somerset & Dorset theme.
Eight locomotives will take part in a festival of steam which for the first time will last four days!

S&D 7F 2-8-0 No 88 should be the guest star, along with Southern Railway West Country No. 34007 Wadebridge. Neither have visited the Great Central Railway before and will bring with them a flavour of the Somerset and Dorset Railway which was closed in the 1960s.

However a late addition to the line up sees Southern Railway N15 4-6-0 King Arthur class No. 30777 Sir Lamiel back to GCR for the first time in many months. It offers the exciting prospect of seeing Wadebridge and Sir Lamiel passing each other on GCR`s double track and recreating the Southern Region steam scene.

Richard Patching, GCR’s general manager said, "Our autumn galas get better and better. We'll prove the letters 'S' and 'D' really stand for Spectacular and Dramatic! “We'll have nonstop mail drops, a mixture of freight trains and of course a very busy timetable of passenger trains passing on the double track.

“Interestingly, just as the S&D went from double track to single in places, we have just the same sort of arrangement south of Rothley station, so we are uniquely placed to capture the atmosphere of this long-lamented railway."

Five locomotives from the current home fleet of Great Central Railway should also join the line up, including sole surviving GCR freight locomotive, O4 2-8-0 N.o 63601. This locomotive will turn 100 years old in January next year. With GWR Hall, No. 4593 Pitchford Hall on the roster and LMS 3F 0-6-0 No. 47406 there will be a perfect mix of motive power which once worked over and around the Somerset & Dorset.

The GCR's gala event could be the first to feature the recently installed turntable at Quorn & Woodhouse station which is nearing completion. A new 50-seater cafe has also opened at the station giving a perfect vantage point to watch passing trains.

All locomotives and attractions appear subject to availability.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Your GCR vintage diesel goods photo is good, solid "Eye Candy" and you have no need of excuse to show it. Such slightly random treats help attract the more broad-minded non-S&D browsers to dip in here "oh lets see what he might show us today" and they cant then help but speed-read your text to some extent too. Hum, they may even catch a few new ideas off you too (need "devil" emoticon here methinks).