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!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

templecombe - and an agm

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

A superb shot of Templecombe.

Arrangements at Templecombe were a little odd to say the least! Most trains off the S&D made important connections at Templecombe, but the junction was somewhat unusual. There was a Lower Platform at Templecombe, which served the S&D exclusively. But the busy Salisbury-Exeter main line ran above the S&D, and to make connections S&D trains needed to be piloted up to the exchange platform, then reverse out and reverse again if heading southwards.

Templecombe was the classic closure too far. It was a VERY busy station right up to the early sixties, but run down of the main line - including, incredibly, singling - matched the run down and closure of the S&D. The WHOLE station, not just the lower platform, closed on 6 March 1966 with the S&D.

However, this was not the end of the story. Templecombe reopened in 1983 and has been an incredible success ever since. Of course at the moment it's still a shadow of its former self, but when the S&D reopens it will not only regain its former importance but will probably quickly surpass it. Not only the S&D is about to flourish, but so is the Salisbury-Exeter route which is being redoubled and may well be electrified in the not too distant future - in fact I suspect parts of the route will be quadruple track eventually. The junction may well be remodelled, but of course with modern multiple units the previous manouevres will be much easier to manage. An escalator between Templecombe Lower platform and the main station - solar powered of course - could also make interchange easier.

Now to our AGM. Scheduled originally for this November we realised that there simply wasn't time to bring it all together. So it will now be in January, full details will be on this blog within a few days, but it will be held in Templecombe so that attendees can come by train.

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