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 16, 2011

bristol starts to stir

As many of you know I live in the tramway and railway desert of south Bristol. We were supposed to be the terminus of one of Bristol's tram routes but this scheme was sunk (for a while) by Dawn Primorolo, who thankfully is stepping down as an MP at the next election.

Bristol is at last about to get an electrified route to London, and the commuter network in waiting (including the Bristol to Radstock route which will form part of the New S&D and WILL serve parts of south Bristol) is beginning to stir. The following report is basically good news but where's the Portishead route, and where are our trams?? It's a start, but only that ...

Bristol Rail Commuters Put On Fast Track

Tuesday, November 15th 2011 12:00

Longer platforms, faster journey times and more services promised as Network Rail sets up new Bristol and WestCountry unit.

Network Rail has today announced a new unit to control improvements across Bristol and the WestCountry.

It says "Network Rail Western", has been created as part it's drive to give local management the power to make independent funding decisions - to reduce costs and raise value for money, so that the savings could be reinvested in the area.

NRW has cited Bristol as one of THE highest forecast growth in rail passenger demand in the UK, at around 44% by the end of the decade - up from a previous 41% after taking into consideration the future electrification to London - cutting journey times from Bristol to the Capital by around 22minutes.

Part of the plan sees potential redevelopment of land around Temple Meads for more platforms, better car parking and an integrated transport hub. There's also plans to enhance the railway to and from Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood to improving journey times.

By the end of 2014, Network Rail Western also sets to achieve at least 93% in punctuality, by tackling cable thefts and implement a robust 7-day railway strategy to minimise disruption during major improvement work.

Network Rail Western will be spending around £400m by 2013 to operate, renew and enhance the 995miles of railway in the new Western region.

Priority schemes over the next two years include:

* £300m to modernise life-expired signalling equipment including those around Bristol so that the infrastructure is compatible with an electrified railway to London.

* £55m to build and design a unique factory train to install electrify the railway.

* £8m to improve journey time between Bristol and Birmingham

* Improvements to journey times between Bristol and Bridgwater, and potentially Plymouth, by enhancing line speeds

* Reducing congestion at Bristol Temple Meads, where around 8.9m passengers enter and exit per year

* Boosting capacity between Dr Days to Filton Abbey Wood by providing a four track railway

* An extra down line platform and passenger area to enable additional fast trains per hour to operate between Bristol and Paddington and also to Parkway after electrification

* The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has recently announced their new Enterprise Zone, known as Temple Quarter, which includes the area of land alongside the former Royal Mail post office site and the large area of disused land leading down to the former Bath Road diesel depot.

The area covers 70 hectares of land with initial estimates suggesting the potential to accommodate over 250 businesses and 17,000 new jobs over a 25-year period. The focus is on creative and digital industries with retail opportunities as part of a wider mixed use development.

The Temple Quarter site is seen as a major gateway that has huge potential to generate jobs and investment for the area that is highly attractive to businesses looking to relocate, demand for transport services from Bristol Temple Meads will significantly increase.

1 comment:

Joe D said...

I wouldn't get too excited -- nothing in that announcement that hasn't been announced several times before. I mean, there are some reasonably exciting things going on with the GWML, but the govt and Network Rail do like to get their money's worth in publicity by endlessly re-announcing them every time there's the tiniest excuse to do so...