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!

Monday, November 14, 2011

excellent example

One of my favourite lines is the Kent and East Sussex Railway, which managed to survive passemger closure in 1954 and freight closure in 1961 to reach the preservation era - with some serious problems along the way. The section from Tenterden northwards to Headcorn closed completely in 1954, the remaining section was reopened in stages from 1974, but the original intention was only to reach Bodiam - the remaining line to the network at Robertsbridge was abandoned completely, mainly because of the 'problem' of a level crossing on the A22. This was back in the days when roads were given priority over rail.

Of course things have changed completely now and this missing section is being restored - and at a cracking place. Take a look at the Rother Valley Railway's website which shows construction of this missing link. Hopefully when restored proper passenger and freight trains can return to the KESR, proving that Colonel Stephens was spot on with his light railways for rural areas - which are going to become a VERY important part of our transport infrastructure.

Hopefully when reopened it will spur other light railway construction, including the route north from Tenterden, the Selsey Tramway (desperately needed) and in our area, the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway, to name just a few!


Neil S. said...

It's obvious to me that there are some very intelligent people who are strongly interested in railway restoration. It's a crying shame this intelligence is not reflected at local and national level in the corridors of power.

Integrated transport is the way forward: Does the SDJR cross with the Somersetshire Coal and /or Kennet and Avon Canals in any way?

SDJR movers and shakers should be talking to our water-loving brethren for a common way forward.

Sunshiner said...

Our land at Midford includes a tiny part of the Midford canal basin, but I think that's the only place where we interface.

Canals will certainly have a big part to play in future transport in the UK and it's good to see that so much of the infrastructure has already been restored.

Neil S. said...

I don't know Bath well but believe the use as a publicity exercise of relaying the Midford line to the canal if possible could go much good to the SDJR cause.

The transfer of goods from train to barge and vice versa.

Demonstration of the way ahead has to start somewhere and soon.

Janus said...

The S&D only "connected" with the Kennett & Avon canal indirectly, by way of the Somerset Coal Canal. As for the latter, a lot of the S&D between Midford and Radstock was built on top of the SCC anyway - so you could rebuild one or the other, but not both!