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, December 21, 2011

pre christmas buzz

There suddenly seems to be a real S&D buzz everywhere at the moment! Midsomer Norton has taken delivery of a DMU so can operate real train services at last! Shillingstone is heading south at a fast pace. Midford is almost cleared and ready to see its buildings put back. Spetisbury is just about to join the S&D fold. Washford will begin actively looking for a new site soon. The Gartell is providing regular steam trips south of Templecombe.

To me the best of all this is that the S&D groups are beginning to pull together and dare I suggest that this is because we're beginning to see a vision of a restored whole route beginning to register with everyone involved with the S&D? When Midsomer Norton started back in the early 90s this vision was enshrined in its constitution, we have always had it as our primary aim at the New S&D and there are lots of rumblings about reaching Spetisbury and Blandford down at Shillingstone. This is great news, and the S&D deserves nothing less.

Of course nobody pretends that this is going to be easy, cheap or without certain hurdles. Although the vast majority of the route is clear (over 95%) there are some annoying blockages, none too big to be overcome of course. And probably 95% of the population still haven't 'got' Peak Oil - and laughingly think fuel prices are already expensive! But every day things get easier, and more and more people are joining and getting actively involved with the great S&D restoration.

Think things are buzzing now?? Come back in ten years' time!

No comments: