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 18, 2011

fantastic news!

(Photo copyright Jeremy Woodrow)

This is incredible news, probably the biggest S&D story of the last forty years. Midsomer Norton has taken delivery of a DMU, which will move them well up the ranks of new heritage lines. This will enable them to offer a real ride and should bring in thousands of extra visitors. I can't wait to get down there and photograph it. When I started there the track was only just beginning to reappear, the signalbox was a pile of stones, the up platform was practically a lawn and there was no loco or rolling stock, apart from a couple of old vans.

Some will say the S&D was always a steam line and the DMU is out of place, but DMU's did very occasionally run on the line up to 1966 on specials. Steam will come ... let's keep doing this a step at a  time.

More pics here.

Fantastic news all round!


Jim. said...

Great! Now onwards to Chilcompton & lets get some lineside photos of the train on the S & D!!.

Sunshiner said...

The arrival of the DMU is going to make Chilcompton (and beyond) happen that much sooner! In a few years we'll be able to get Ivo style pictures again on the S&D.

I can't wait until the DMU visits Midford - under its own 'steam' of course!

Howard Wilkie said...

The last passenger train I saw on the S&D was a special in Radstock in (I think) 1970 - it was formed of a dmu, so the precedent has been set. This is a great step forward, a real train at last!

Neil S. said...

This is excellent and cheering news in the light of the ongoing doom and gloom: England still has some decent and forward thinking people.

I take it, with the necessary changes, a DMU can run on some such oil as sunflower or frying oil?

Anonymous said...

Great! thanks for the share!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic news indeed. Clear evidence - if ever any was needed - that the S&DRHT is much more than just a heritage railway project. I hope they get the financial support they need in due course to bridge Silver Street and clear the infill from Chilcompton cutting.