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!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

swanage approaches the change

I love the Swanage Railway. I was lucky enough to visit it when it was a real line, in 1971 and on the last day 1 January 1972. I was on the train that got held up by cowboys. Sadly I don't have the photos to hand, they are in the attic somewhere and no doubt willl be scanned eventually!

But Swanage intends to be a real railway again soon, runninga  daily service from the junction with the network at Wareham. Unfortunately for the line the junction wasn't right at the station but about a mile away at Worgret, so the new service will involve running over the network. But this is going to happen everywhere so it's good that Swanage will be the groundbreaker.

Full report from the Swanage website here.

Swanage to Wareham Daily Service

One of the goals of the Swanage Railway is to restore a daily service between Swanage and Wareham to connect with the main line. This is progressing well and we hope to have a service running around 2013. However, before that can be done there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to upgrade the track between the Swanage Railway and Worgret Junction, just west of Wareham station. While Swanage is now connected to the national rail network, the infrastructure is not currently suitable for daily train running and is restricted to just several charter trains each year.
The key issue is signalling. We are hoping to have the branch junction re-signalled for regular passenger traffic as part of a Network Rail upgrade of the mainline that is scheduled for around 2012. During a recent visit to the Swanage Railway, Transport Minister Lord Adonis listened to our plans for establishing a service, noting in The Times that "the business case is promising and the proposal is highly credible." Lord Adonis said that he would schedule a high level meeting to discuss the plans.
What else needs to be done? The 'Project Wareham' to do list is a long one. While the track is in place and has recently accepted charter trains visiting Swanage, it does need to be upgraded in places. The service will also require rolling stock as well as storage and maintenance facilities. There are also plans to develop this area. The line beyond Norden needs further investment to upgrade the line speed to 25mph. A full barrier crossing will be required at Norden before regular movements will be permitted and at anything more than walking pace.
Our new signal box at Corfe Castle is now in service and will need to be fitted with the necessary equipment to interface directly with Network Rail such that trains can be exchanged without the need for padlocks and gates.
The SRT Project Wareham Appeal April 2009 - photo copyright Andrew P.M. Wright All of this requires funding. Swanage Railway supporters have launched a £100,000 appeal to upgrade the section of the Swanage Railway towards Wareham. Without this funding, the regular daily service will not happen. This £100,000 is only a small part of the total funding required.
Donations to the project can be made on-line or by cheque or money order payable to the Swanage Railway Trust (Project Wareham), Station House, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1HB. Please download and print the form on the right to send with your donation or donate on-line by using the links below.
Please click here to visit the Swanage Railway Trust Appeals section at http://www.swanagerailwaytrust.org.uk/appeals/index.htm#Wareham

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