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!

Friday, November 04, 2011

barely believable

Now let's get this right. There's no £47 million for restoration of the Portishead branch, desperately needed and something everyone wants, a transport system for the 21st century which will reduce the average travelling time between Bristol and Portishead from an hour or more to 17 minutes ...

... yet there IS £90 million to WASTE on signage and cameras on the Almondsbury Interchange, a ROAD!!!!! The argument is that congestion is creating problems and losing drivers a few minutes each day. Er ... congestion will vanish quickly enough as oil prices rise and few of us will be able to continue to drive. Roads are 20th century, a dying transport mode. Not another penny should be wasted on them. ALL tranbsport funding now needs to go on transport modes that can survive Peak Oil.

This is disgusting and we need to make it stop. Money and resources are running out, it is CRIMINAL to misallocate either now.

Forget playing with cars, the £90 million should be spent on getting Portishead linked to Bristol and Norton/Radstock to Bath.


Jim said...

I would like to know who these faceless wonders are who keep refusing to see whats in front of them. it looks like the north of england get on with it, & the south lags behind again. the rails are still down for most of the line for goodness sake! to Portishead, sounds like they bumped up the price like they did for the Tidworth branch so it would not happen.

Anonymous said...

Agreed....lets keep the pressure up and keep pumping out the message that more roads and fancy signs are not the answer to the regions problems.

Knoxy said...

Happen it will in time. it is mad though, but they don't want to admit they were wrong when they closed it. A bit like the euro situation? They refuse to recognise they were wrong in the first place and won't make the right decision now.

events in both cases will make the right thing happen...


Neil S. said...

An excellent analysis, Sunshiner.

Roads are finished: it's not MENSA level material to work out what is on the way.

It seems the faceless bureaucrats and politicians read from a prepared script dated at the time of the Beeching Axe. My late grandfather was an LMS man. He always argued a Britain without good railways could not work. He didn't have a degree or similar. Was he right?
What is up with the powers that be? Knoxy and Jim are right.
Personally, I think there is still a stench from the road lobby.

Knoxy said...

It is not high speed lines this country needs, but more slow speed lines, to enable the local commute into a place of work and the efficient movement of freight. Why should the people of Portishead, Radstock and many, many towns and villages across the land have to put up with the daily commute of being stuck in road traffic? Why? It doesn’t make economic sense. All that wasted time. It is recognised, but the solution is wrong. They can find £90m for road traffic measures, but not £47m for a rebuilt railway? That’s mad, but then it’s also a clue to why we are in the mess we are in? Second rate politicians who think they can make better decisions than the market. They tax us all too much and then waste the money they receive along with all they borrow in our name.

We need a world class railway linking all the major cities with the towns and villages and a freight network linking all the ports. This country needs to take advantage of its geographical position (an island surrounded by sea) and trade with the world. Forget Europe, they’ll be too busy paying off what they’ve already spent!

I’m very optimistic in this time of crisis, because the euro will crash and sometime soon we will rebuild our railways.

It just makes sense….

the real daft thing is we had all this once and have spent the last 50 years destroying it! Madness?


steve n said...

more bad news i'm afraid.a new bus transit system linking fareham and gosport opens soon.guess what it's built on?the old railway line!
even local news mentions "old railway track" every bulletin as if they're proud of it!

Sunshiner said...

It's not actually bad news. The busway, doomed as it is once Peak Oil hits, preserves the right of way for the railway/tramway.

Bear in mind that the Gosport branch closed to passengers in 1951 so the demand is probably not there yet. Gosport's an unusual case in that it's Britain's biggest town without a railway, but this is due to the fact that the natural traffic flow, at the moment, is by ferry across to Portsmouth, from where fast trains run to London. Fareham just can't offer the same flexibility.

This was also a victim of the disgusting lack of support for the South Hants Tramway scheme from the government.

Expect rails to be laid sooner rather than later on this route, as well as tramways throughout Portsmouth and Southsea, possible interurban between Portsmouth and Southampton and a line to Waterlooville and Clanfield, via Horndean. Possibly even a route across to Hayling Island!

Remember that road transport and buses are now very much a transitory and dying form of transport. Let's not be too harsh on them in their halcyon days. We'll look back on buses and roads with nostalgia soon enough!

Get and photograph the busway when it opens - the opportunity won't be there for long!

DLG6S said...


Living in the real world, as always - unlike the same kind of politicians who caused/supported the closures under the crooks Marples and Beeching, due to the road lobby. We need to remember that politicos are always some considerable distance behind the curve - look at the euro shambles.
We should at least give them credit for realising that air travel is finished, and building increased capacity is a complete waste of time. Roads next?

Andrew said...

Look on the bright side - we'll have a lovely network of car free cycle roads and reopened/new rail to get about with!