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, November 30, 2011

another cross country line starts to stir

The Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway appears to be stirring from 50 years of deep sleep!
Rex Hora is looking into practical ways of restoring most of this route, primarily for freight.

The DNS was a bit of a dark sister to the S&D with its cross-country services, north-south orientation, its mix of double and single track and weight of traffic. It closed a little earlier, with Newbury to Shawford closing around 1960, the Newbury to Didcot section remaining open a few more years, and a short stretch remaining open to freight for a little longer. It was an incredibly busy route in WWII, but declined quickly afterwards.

With the need for increased rail capacity and the inevitable shift of freight from road to rail I suspect the DNS's time will soon come! Who knows, bearing in mind the above, that separate route from Winchester to Southampton may even eventually be built!

Rex has set up a basic website here - let him know you support him!


Neil S. said...

More good news.

The more people start to take an interest in the railways, the more they will become politically irresistible. It is time to "pollute" the powers that be with a dose of brains.

I am truly amazed at the goodwill between the different railway restoration groups. May that goodwill continue and not be ruined by the inevitable intercourse with politicians and councillors that ongoing events will bring.

Knoxy said...

brilliant. i'm just starting to take an interest in this line as our Slough IECC signalling moves to Didcot over Christmas....

more freight by rail please. its the future

yamfaz said...

Having just traced the route on Googlemaps, it looks like a 'No Brainer'. Newbury would be interesting with some industrial buildings having to go. But as they say - 'That's Progress'. At the southern end they could spend a little bit more and connect up the Mid-Hants. Now that would make things interesting especially with the Mid-Hants about the Double their track.

John B said...

Yet another line which could be so useful for freight but which has been damaged by redevelopment authorised without any thought for the future. Even BR had considered reopening a part of the line in the 80s.

There should at least have been a footpath/cycleway along the route to keep it safe. Not the redevelopment which was allowed at Sutton Scotney in 2005:


Anonymous said...

this line would make an ideal freight line, as the roads get even more congested. Although the old slip junction with the lswr line just north of Winchester would make a good compromise as there has been some encroachment by the dual carrageway to newbury at Kingsworthy and also at the site Winchester Chesell in the late eightys the site was demolished to make way for a multi story, having said moast of the civals ar still insitu not least the impressive hokley viaduct one of the first to have a goncrete core. the winchester chesell tunnel is in a good state of repare olso other minor bridges survive as well as the old goods shed at barend yard

the run up from the winchester junction to newburry is a better prospect to get started a new S&D stile campegn as much of the track bed and civals are intact

i wholheartedly support this concept as this line is a somwhere to somwhere line on which trains could use for divetions

Andrrew said...

For fans of the brilliant Downton Abbey tv drama, the main location for the series, Highclere Castle, lies a couple of miles to the west of the line and it and the nearby village of the same name were served by Highclere station up to closure in the early 60s. So, a possible extra marketing tool for the future: visitors coming by train via 'The Downton Line'?!