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 08, 2011


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

On the branch today, two excellent shots of Shapwick, both late 50s/early 60s.

The branch is something of a dilemma to us. Whilst clearly Wells andf Glastonbury both need to be connected to the network ASAP, as does Burnham, it's not clear that a long branch connecting at Evercreech and Highbridge is the best way to serve these places in the future. Glastonbury and Wells would probably benefit more from a logical route across the Mendips to a junction somewhere in the Masbury area, giving this sizeable town and city a direct connection to Bristol and Bath. But perhaps a change at Highbridge or Evercreech is not such a bad option from the economic point of view. There's also the Cheddar Valley route that shadows this line somewhat to the north, which could perhaps be used instead, linking Wells and Glastonbury to Yatton. There's also the flooding problem on the original branch, which will only get worse with time.

The only definite re the branch is that clearly both Wells and Glastonbury will need rail connection in the not too distant future!
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