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!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

after the worst - the best!

After the trouble from trolls this week (aka Compulsory Purchase Man) it was great to get the following in one of the comments sections - which I think captures very well the special magic of the S&D, past, present and future!

Well,got to admit that a recently published Peak Oil graph (presented by the New S&D Group) was pretty disturbing.It depicted current oil production hopelessly outstripping new discoveries. Don't forget that even electric vehicles need to have their power centrally generated. Road and air travel to finish?- he could be right. We could be talking semi -apocalypse or a radical change in society with its values and habits. There's a ring of truth in what he's saying and I know he's genuinely gathering support. The standard replies and rebuttals don't stack up-they are just the same old crap-something is going to happen-something akin to the St Paul's demo-some kind of quiet revolution-or even a louder one. There's something mystical about the counties of Somerset and Dorset-I'm on that wavelength. There's something magical about the S&D too-Donald had the feel for it...'Eddystone' survived for a reason -'Braunton' also-and all those 9F's! New S&D could well be a stamping ground for the PPM-there must be a not necessarily logical reason for all this fundamental back to basics thinking.Extreme maybe-impossible never! Even the New S&D don't know what they've got in their hands-but at least they admit it!

And on the subject of trolls - there'll be no more of this. He made the fatal mistake of sending me a vile and ignorant comment yesterday (unpublished) just as my mum was undergoing open heart surgery. This was not appreciated, as you can imagine.

Worse is that this troll (Compulsory Purchase Man) was in reality an Occupy Bristol character who I'd crossed in a completely different context and forum. Occupy don't accept Peak Oil at all, so it seems we were an 'easy' target!

No more trolls - I promise. The comments section is moderated, and no more of this ignorant, personal and bitchy rubbish will get through. ALL other comments will go through, as always, even if they query certain aspects (but not the whole plan) of the New S&D, because dialogue is essential at every stage in the rebuilding of the S&D.

Thanks for all the orders and new memberships that have come along in the wake of Compulsory Purchase Man's comments! Especially the large DVD order which had 'one in the eye for Compulsory Purchase Man' written boldly across it!


Keith Browning said...

The Peak Oil denial got me thinking back. I clearly remember lots of TV programs in the 1970s and 80s about - 'what happens when the oil runs out'. North Sea oil was only supposed to last for 30 years etc etc.

This was legitimate debate that featured Panorama and the like. Forty years on the subject is never mentioned. It seems to have become a victim of the political correctness nonsense.

What your graphs dont show is the projections for usage for India, China, Brazil and the US in 2050 which could quickly overwhelm the system.

With the world being bombarded by solar flares today perhaps the end is nearer than we think.

Rob Sissons said...

Quote from "Railway Walks" by Gareth Lovett-Jones (1980) - a book that includes the Burnham branch of the S&D:

"... at a time when the oil companies are moving into Surrey and Dorset in desperate search of the last few dribbles of oil the earth can give us - in a century's time, God willing, we may be exploring disused motorways..."

Sunshiner said...

I suspect we'll see motorways converted to railways within 20 years and the last road traffic on the last few stretches of motorway in between 25 and 35 years.

So get out there and photograph them! They've hardly had friends whilst they've existed so their existence will hardly be remembered in a few generations time unless we get out there and record them! Same with airports.

Air and road will be seen historically as a very transient form of transport as we move into the real golden age of rail travel.

Eddystone said...

'Compulsory Purchase Man' is probably being vexatious but just in case he merely wants answers that seem to make sense, he should understand that these are becoming times which do not warrant logical thinking. We need to be laterally minded or we will not survive. The S&D will be one of many revived community transport projects around the country-which also embrace the UK canal system. The pure metaphysics of the S&D are like a magnetic pulse which grabs you as you journey into the West Country. The Churnet Valley has a similar electric atmosphere-and look what they are achieving! Wensleydale, Tavistock and Folkestone Harbour are other examples. Teesside is another area which eminates this energy for a return to a maritime economy.

The fact that so many support the New S&D is no coincidence-it will happen in one form or the other-because the(sometimes subliminal) will is there-no matter how many 'logical' arguments are projected.

Have you heard of the 2012 preppers?-the world is going to change.Hopefully there will be no totally devastating natural disaster,paralysing insurrection or overt anarchy. True local government will prevail-putting an end to the self interest and insincerity from Westminster. Dave's 'Big Society' is what is going to happen-poor bloke doesn't realise the significance of his ramblings. Secondary Railways will become the practical arteries of community life and its future prosperity.

Eddystone said...

...you can argue against the validity of the aspirations of the New S&D -but it's not easy to fight metaphysics. S&D second time around would be here to stay until a natural and/or cataclysmic event smoothed it into oblivion. Economics or alternative fuels would have no effect on wither or no.The Counties of Somerset and Dorset are mystical...from the cloisters of Wells to the hillocks of Corfe. The Legend of Avalon...the escarpment of Glastonbury..King Arthur and Wessex. The S&D is just a more modern legend...its folklore is irrefutable-you cannot destroy its spirit, which makes it much easier to restore its fabric. Why do you think so many locos that were used on the S&D have survived? Which other railway is being restored in such a piecemeal manner in so many locations. Its not logical its magical...I repeat MAGICAL not LOGICAL.