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, May 09, 2011

the last post

(All pictures copyright Dave Clark)

This will be my last post on here for about 16 days as I'm leaving for Cuba tomorrow. Dave Clark's pointed me in the direction of loads of his excellent Shillingstone pictures and I'll return to these when I get back.

An apology if you were expecting Right Lines 3. Unfortunately the problem with formatting hasn't yet been resolved and I've run out of time now to get it sorted before I go away. I will prioritise this when I get back -it does rather highlight the need for an editor to take over this fun job sooner rather than later. Again, if you're a member and interested in taking this on please email me at leysiner@aol.com

No doubt I'll return fully refreshed after Cuba, with planning of the AGM the other priority. Much more when I get back!

rail keeps booming

(Both Bedminster 12.4.2011 copyright Steve Sainsbury)

Rail journeys are up by 15 million in the first quarter of the year compared to the same quarter in 2010. The main reason stated is the price of fuel. This is the busiest the railways have been since the 1920s.

So when will this backwards-looking government start to realise that rail capacity needs to be greatly increased NOW, not simply by putting more trains on existing routes or by building High Speed routes to free up capacity, but by building NEW community railways?  The railways can only get busier as the long term trend for rising oil costs continue, freight will soon be far cheaper to carry by train and supply crunches and rationing (directly or by price) for public petrol and diesel can only be a few years away now.

This is indeed the golden age for rail and it's only going to get better and better!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

havana 2011

(Photo © Kim Newbold)

We are taking a two week break in Havana from next Tuesday so don't expect any posts for a couple of weeks. The internet's not generally available in Cuba so I will be just about cut off from the real world.

One thing I'm really looking forward to doing is travelling on the Hershey Railway which is the only electric interurban tramway in Cuba - it runs for about 90km.

No doubt I'll have more pics and info on my return.

each a glimpse ...

This was the surprise visitor at Shillingstone over the weekend. It can be glimpsed in each of Dave Clark's pictures - it was of course the Dukedog en route to the Bluebell Railway.

(All pictures © Dave Clark)

midford today

Tom and Stuart have been back up to Midford. This is their latest report -

Tom and I went down to Midford for an evening the other week and put in a few hours and returned again today for the full day.

We knew we had a fair bit of excavating but didn't realise the floor of the Gents toilets was buried quite so deeply. All the years of fly tipping is making life difficult.

Today we cleared over 40 wheelbarrow loads which we calculated came to over 1 1/2 tons and meant wheeling the barrow in total over 2 miles to drop off the spoil and another 2 miles to collect the next lot. We enjoyed the lunchtime refreshment in the Hope and Anchor!

We were very pleased to find the floor of the Gents toilets and, although we resisted using it, found that the urinal trough was there still intact.

We think we have more than 2 days work still to go in digging out at the station. You can see the depth we have had to dig in the photos where Tom is on the tiled floor of the Gents.

the electric car con

So our 'green' government are giving a £5000 subsidy to everyone who buys an electric car and are planning to put in thousands of charging points for these groundbreaking 'green' vehicles.

Of course far from being 'green' electric cars actually pour out even more pollution than a traditional petrol or diesel car. How? Because the electricity has to be generated, normally by burning coal or oil. And each step in an energy conversion programme loses some energy, typically 20%. Both coal and oil are dirty polluters, churning out CO2 as well as further depleting our rapidly diminishing reserves. So all electric cars will do is pollute more and deplete faster, the ultimate con. Hopefully this should be enough to wipe the smug smirks off the faces of electric car drivers and encourage people to switch from road to rail.

Of course if the electricity is generated by renewables that's a different matter, but even renewables use traditional energy in their construction and maintenance. The best thing is to rebuild our rail network where the energy is used far more efficiently. Electric cars are a con. Electric railways and tramways are the way forward.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

hot off the press

This is about as hot and leftfield as it gets - no pics or anything!

Breaking news!!!!!!

Theres a surprise visitor at the station this weekend.

Sat on a low loader in the old goods yard is the dukedog en route to the bluebell railway, pop down and have a look :)

The station in Shillingstone. I've got no other info at all.

Friday, May 06, 2011

one of the elements ...

One of the vehicles we'll be looking at for sections of the New S&D is the Parry People Mover. Whilst obviously not suitable for long disytance trains on the main line it may well have a valuable role providing local services on sections of the main line and many services on the branches. It also runs just as well as a tram on street running lines which will connect with the New S&D at various points.

A PPM press release follows.

JPM Parry & Associates Ltd - consultancy and project management JPM Parry & Associates Ltd - consultancy and project management Pre Metro Operations Ltd - transport operation Pre Metro Operations Ltd - transport operation Carpet Track - shallow section tramway track Carpet Track - shallow section tramway track

Tuesday 9th November 2010 - A PRESS RELEASE FROM:




Domestic and export market interest stimulates development work

Parry People Movers Ltd is preparing for a future in which its affordable and environmentally-friendly transport technology is becoming more and more attractive. Actions are being taken as a result of the success of its pioneering commercial application and approaches from potential customers in both domestic and international markets.

The West Midlands-based company is a leader in low-carbon transport having supplied railcars now used in full passenger service on the short Stourbridge Town branch line, part of the London Midland franchise and operated under subcontract by Pre Metro Operations Ltd. Since their introduction in 2009, over 600,000 passenger journeys have been made on the two railcars at Stourbridge with reliability of over 99.4% throughout 2010. The new railcars have enabled service frequency to be increased, costs to be halved and carbon emissions cut by two-thirds. Passenger numbers on the branch have increased significantly in the same time.

Parry People Movers’ concept of lightweight, energy-efficient rail vehicles is proving how to minimise the environmental impact of transport and permits the revival of branch lines. It has created a new category of ‘super-hybrid’ system, with a secondary power system more powerful than the prime mover. The same technology can be applied to street tramways without needing electrification – a major driver of cost and complexity.

The logic behind branch line revival is emphasized by figures recently released by the Association of Train Operating Companies showing that on some branch lines passenger numbers have risen by up to 55% in twelve months alone. A key factor in making branch lines more attractive to passengers is making the service better. As demonstrated at Stourbridge, Parry People Movers technology can achieve improvements leading to passenger growth highly cost-effectively (and at the same time can release main line trains from the branches so that capacity on the main lines can be increased).

The technology’s application to urban tramways – which will be much less expensive and disruptive to construct than conventional tram systems – has been boosted by the UK Government’s recent vote of confidence in light rail systems, deciding to support extensions and improvements to those in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Nottingham and Tyne & Wear supported despite the current financial climate.

The firm’s preparations for the future include:

The forthcoming issue of a further 500,000 shares in accordance with the approval given by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting on 5th July 2010. New investment capital will be used for collaborative technical development and marketing activities.

Plans for the purchase of the intellectual property behind the Parry People Movers venture (currently the subject of an exclusive licence from the company’s technical associates JPM Parry & Associates Ltd), as a result of which the intellectual property rights will be revalued upwards in the light of proven advantages

The publication of a Plan of Action laying out the company’s plans and explaining the economic, social and environmental rationale behind its developments (this can be seen at http://www.parrypeoplemovers.com/pdf/2010-09-02%20Action%20Plan.pdf

Ongoing negotiations with a number of industrial partners with the objective of collaboration to develop the company’s product range to include vehicles that are both larger and faster than the 60-passenger ‘Class 139’ type operating at Stourbridge

Design activities with a view to making new vehicles suitable for export markets, including those where it is appropriate for complete rolling chassis supplied from the UK to be fitted with locally-manufactured bodies

Recent market developments include:

High-level discussions with proposed operators, infrastructure controllers and local authorities regarding the use of Parry People Movers vehicles on three short routes in England where new operations would provide useful public transport links to established main line rail services

Expressions of interest in the use of Parry People Movers vehicles on proposed urban transport systems in three south east Asian countries

Discussions already undertaken with commercial developers on the potential for Parry People Movers vehicles to provide public transport services in an African capital city

The company’s chairman, John Parry, said: ‘Our company has arrived on the transport scene and its products are delivering stunning results in public service on the Stourbridge Town branch line. This is making the case for further application of the technology and this is being recognised internationally. We are preparing for a busy future.’


Parry People Movers Ltd (PPML) was founded in 1991 to develop rail transport based on a new innovation: the flywheel energy store, which allows vehicles to run extremely efficiently and to recapture their braking energy for re-use when accelerating. The company's shares are listed on the PLUS Market (Ticker code: PPM).

PPML's rail vehicles offer the quality of modern light rail transport without the need for electrical power supply, giving excellent environmental performance and energy efficiency at lower costs than conventional technology.

PPML technology can be used equally on railways and on urban tramways. The company’s vehicles are fully compliant with accessibility regulations. The technology used in PPML's vehicles is licensed to the Company by JPM Parry & Associates Limited, a West Midlands engineering firm specialising in overseas development, innovative transport and energy/environmental issues.

Two Parry People Movers railcars, known as ‘Class 139’, are used to operate all passenger services on the Stourbridge Town branch, part of the London Midland network, which runs between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town stations and at just over three-quarters of a mile long is the shortest rail route in Britain.

The rail industry’s target for services operated is 99% and the Stourbridge operation has, on average, exceeded this target for the whole of 2010. Service reliability figures for the Stourbridge Town branch show the percentage of services run compared to the timetable.

Calculations by PPML show that the Class 153 diesel trains previously used on the Stourbridge Town branch emitted an estimated 810kg of carbon dioxide a day, while the new lightweight Class 139 vehicles from Parry People Movers Ltd have brought this down to 240kg per day.

Transport contributes around 29% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.

Contact: Parry People Movers Limited, Overend Road, Cradley Heath, West Midlands, B64 7DD

Telephone: +44 (0)1384 569553, Fax: +44 (0)1384 637753

E-mail: info@parrypeoplemovers.com, Website: www.parrypeoplemovers.com

Thursday, May 05, 2011


The first planning meeting for the joint event in March 2016 will take place in Yeovil on Saturday, 28 May 2011, 10am for 10.30 with the meeting lasting no longer than 2 hours.

Would any member like to come along to this meeting to discuss ideas for what is going to be a major event? I can offer a lift from south Bristol if required. ANY member is welcome to come along but I need to have a definite yes by midday Saturday so I can let them know who is coming. This is an excellent chance for member/s to influence developments on the S&D. Please email me on leysiner@aol.com

Monday, May 02, 2011


Another excellent shot from Brian Clarke, this is of the S&D bridge near Oldfield Park. It's likely that there will be a future connection somewhere in this area between the S&D and the Network.

This is Brian's description of this location - Two months ago I found a good camera angle for the S&D bridge that crosses GWR near Oldfield Park station. It is masked one side by road bridge but only weeds & handrails are visible from there, at risk of getting killed by speeding cars. Exploring residential roads eventually revealed this view of the structure. It seems to be left unchanged since closure & is not used by Sustrans Two Tunnels path which ends just to right of view.

Having lived in Bath since 1967 & walked past this bridge countless times, I never previously saw what it actually looks like. Both ends are blocked off by fences & dense foliage.

(Picture taken 9.3.2011 © Brian Clarke)

binegar 1987

Brian Clarke has sent these two evocative shots of Binegar taken in January 1987. I particularly like the second shot as it's full of railway atmosphere despite the line having been closed at this time for almost 21 years.

This station will no doubt be revived sooner rather than later as the Trust at Midsomer Norton continue to push southwards. Binegar is the next stop after Chilcompton.

(Both © Brian Clarke)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

and about time ...

(Pensford (Bristol route) 30.4.2011 © Steve Sainsbury)

I've finally managed to complete RIGHT LINES 3 and hopefully all members will get their copies over the next week or so. There is an appeal for an editor in the magazine - if you are a member and would like to take on this job, with lots of financial support from the New S&D and plenty of content from myself and others, please email me on leysiner@aol.com