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!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

good news!

The New S&D has no plans to stand still and with Midford not far from reaching the stage where we can start rebuilding the station, it's time for Dorset to share in the great rail revival that is sweeping across Somerset and Dorset. We expect Spetisbury to be in our hands very soon!

The following is a report from Dean Cockwell, who has been co-ordinating the Spetisbury effort. This is from 8 December, 2011.

Well, we had our meeting with Richard from the council and Giles the ranger. Anna-Jayne, Mike Hall, Chris and Kevin Brettell were there with me. And it was good to put names to faces, and I would like to thank all of you again for coming. It was a bit breezy, and we did have a short shower, but it takes more than that to put us off.
It went very well and some good points came out of it.
Firstly they are very keen that we wanted to clear the platforms, for one thing it reduces Giles' workload as he wont have to keep going there and cutting back the tall bushes that sprout across the trailway. and they don't have any objections for buildings to be built in keeping with the original design. They don't see a problem with the idea of us using them as an information centre with a light snacks kiosk.
What they have mentioned is public liability insurance. Is that something that you have in place at Midford, and could it be extended to include Spetisbury?
Richard is going to see if he can locate plans of the buildings, but if he cant find them he has suggested that I ask at the historical information centre based in Dorchester. Giles has suggested that I speak to the conservation guy within the council, who may be able to guide/ help us with conserving the natural heritage of Spetisbury.
It was also suggested that a meeting with the local parish council would be advantageous, to give them a 'heads up' of our plans for the future or the station site. They also warned us that we might get opposition to us clearing the platforms, especially on the village side, due to the elevated position of the station in relation with the houses, which would be overlooked.
One suggestion that was talked about after Richard and Giles left, was that we could erect some sort of fencing to replace the trees and bushes that provided privacy to the house owners. The result would be that you would be able to see across the Stour valley, just as you could before, but you would not be able to see down into the properties directly below the station.
Richard thinks that we may be offered some form of lease agreement, but was not sure at the time of the meeting.
They talked about planning permission, but as Anna stated, that until we have cleared the platforms and found what we had to work with, it would be difficult to put in an accurate set of detailed plans for planning permission.
It was also mentioned that parking has to be considered, especially as there is no adjacent parking facilities. We also have to think about the potential numbers of people that might visit the area and what impact that would have on the area, especially vehicles which is going to be a difficult one because of the parking issue. There is street parking, but this is along the main A350 road, and could be non existent at certain times of the day, so this is going to need a bit of thinking about. They did mention the local school, but I would have to investigate that avenue before we could offer it within our plans.
Oh! Nearly forgot, Kevin Brettell had brought a spade with him and did some small exploratory work and found that possibly we may have no platform surface apart from the few slabs that are viewable along the edge of the up platform. Looking at the photos, there does not seem to be any stone slabs on the down platform, but until we get started on clearing them, its difficult to say with any certainty.

1 comment:

richard said...

Things are really beginning to roll on the S&D! Congratulations to everyone involved, from an avid armchair supporter. Have a well-earned Christmas Break, and a Very Happy and Purposeful New Year in 2012.