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

the begiining of the end for oil ...

This is an interesting development, and rather unexpected at this point in the energy cycle, but goes some way to prove that oil is a dying industry with fixed costs coming under pressure as demand falls and supply gets tighter.

Coryton refinery job fears after Petroplus go bankrupt

Hundreds of jobs at the Coryton oil refinery in Essex are under threat after Swiss owner Petroplus said it would file for bankruptcy.

The government has said the refinery, which supplies 20% of fuel for south-east England, is still operating.

Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers says the priority is for work at Coryton to continue without disruption.

Other firms say they will still be able to supply fuel, but petrol retailers fear diesel prices will spike.

Steven Pearson, on behalf of the administrator, said: "Our immediate priority is to continue to operate the Coryton refinery and the Teesside storage business without disruption while the financial position is clarified and restructuring options are explored."

He said there were plans to have a number of discussions during the next few days over the future of the site in Coryton and the business in Teesside.

Petroplus has said it will file for insolvency "as soon as possible" after failing to reach an agreement with creditors to extend deadlines for loan repayments.

'Part of community'

As well as refining oil for use as fuel, the Coryton site - which is one of eight refineries in the UK - also imports fuel from other countries which has already been refined.

Although several lorries left the site before 0730 GMT on Tuesday, there has been no reported movement since.

Russell Jackson, an employee and representative of the Unite union, told the BBC the refinery had been at the site since the 1950s and was very much part of the local community, which would be heartbroken if it closed.

"There are also many contractors that work on site and rely on Coryton for their living as well," he added.

"People don't know what's going to happen and are insecure about the future but people are hopeful something will be done to resolve the situation and a buyer might be found."

He said he hoped the government was concerned about the situation, and warned the UK should not have to solely rely on its energy needs coming from third parties or imports.

East of England MEP Richard Howitt also said he feared petrol supplies would be affected.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live the job losses would have a "devastating impact" on the local economy.

"I don't want to be alarmist about this, but I don't want to be dishonest either.

"Supplies across London and the South East could be affected, and I have been told this could impact the Olympics."

BP is a major customer of the refinery in Coryton, and said it would be watching the situation very closely.

Essar Oil, which owns the Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port, has agreed to supply significant volumes of both diesel and petrol to BP, the BBC understands.

Brian Madderson of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), which represents petrol retailers, told the BBC he expected prices to rise for a number of reasons.

He said the European Union embargo on Iranian supplies of crude oil, the Coryton issues and striking tanker drivers in Lincolnshire were all creating pressure for the industry.

"All of that is going to mean further pressure on price as we have to import for product, and I can see a new record for diesel within days."

The striking Lincolnshire drivers, who work for road haulage firm Wincanton, are in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Unite said the seven-day walkout by 100 of its members, will affect fuel supplies to many Jet garages.
'Financial position'

But discussing the Coryton site, a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "We understand that a process is under way to put in place the necessary commercial arrangements to deliver the product into the market.

"Companies have already made alternative arrangements to ensure adequate supply of products are available while these commercial arrangements are being put in place."

Coryton refinery. There has been very little movement at the refinery since the announcement was made.

ExxonMobil, the owner of the Fawley Refinery on Southampton Water, told the BBC its stock levels for London and the South East remained good and it would continue to deliver to forecourts as normal.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that although Heathrow Airport has one underground pipe taking jet fuel from Coryton, it also has several others it can rely on and therefore is not believed to have any "immediate worries" for now.


Keith Browning said...

I think there was an 8% reduction in petrol usage in UK last year, and it is noticeable how much easier the traffic moves on the motorways than 8-10 years ago.

The Greeks have returned 200,000 license plates, which means that many fewer cars on their roads.

The other knock on effect of all this is that people will start to holiday in Britain more often, so the sleepy seaside towns of the West of England might quickly see a revival in their fortunes. Cue the revival of the S&D..!!

Neil S. said...

The S and D website has more incisive comment than most of the drivel in the national newspapers.
That's one of the reasons why I joined. I'm sick to the back teeth of idiots spouting claptrap about perpetual growth etc.

The latest problem with oil supply is lost on politicians and most of all the public at large: they don't care as long as there is soccer etc.

A day is approaching at an ever increasing speed when the present system will not work: food will be too expensive as will all oil-derived products.

The revival of railways offers a quick and easy solution to the problem: I'd like to see discourse with the canal euthusiasts-another mod of transport which does not need oil to operate, and with the right approach, can form part of an integrated transport system. Just look at the canal system in Gloucestershire downwards and across to Cornwall and Sussex.

That's not to mention the railway potential.

The jobs and energy efficiency potential is huge.