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

the view from bristol

Thanks to Jim Type and of course Chris Warren for this!

I WOULD like to thank everyone who was involved in organising the excellent Rail Conference that took place on November 4 in Bristol. It was great to hear about the GWR electrification project and the outcome of a workshop session that resulted in the Evening Post-backed 'Bristol Metro' being given top priority by those attending.

A practical demonstration of how such a scheme could work was laid on by the fantastic people at First Great Western.

We started by travelling along the Portishead Branch. It was a lovely trip, passing under the Clifton Suspension Bridge as we trundled up the Avon Gorge. We travelled through Pill, across the viaduct and through the derelict station. We paused to look at where the line would diverge as it carried on into Portishead, tantalisingly close. Next up was a ride around the 'Henbury Loop' then back along the Severn Beach line.

The purpose of this tour was to indicate that a 'Bristol Metro' using existing infrastructure and re-opening closed stations such as Saltford is eminently feasible. It also put into sharp focus the absurdity of the continuing debacle of the re opening of the Portishead line.

Our local politicians really should hang their heads in shame as to why this much discussed proposal to bring relief to the good people of Portishead has taken so long.

I congratulate the Evening Post and First Great Western for championing a cause, the Bristol Metro, that thousands of people who have to live and work in Bristol so desperately want.

I ask all our local politicians of whatever political persuasion, to forget the folly of having a transport system based around the private car, bin this ridiculous and failed 'Bendybus' idea, and put serious money into the local rail network.

We owe it to ourselves and future generations.

Chris Warren

Saltford Station Campaign

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