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, January 09, 2012

how on earth did we let this one get away?

Take a look at his superb film of the Wisbech and Upwell tramway. This line survived until 1966 (although passenger traffic finished in 1927 - the passenger coaches appeared The Titfield Thunderbolt so there's a sort of S&D link!) and saw long freight trains almost to the end.

The Wisbech and Upwell was an experimental line built by the Great Eastern Railway. In reality it was probably a century ahead of its time. It should of course have been a target for preservationists as the line remained in situ until 1970 - how did we let this one get away?

There was a revival attempt a few years ago and I'm sure the line will be revived sooner rather than later. Why? Watch the film!

Of course this sort of line will become commonplace over the next fifty years as the oil runs out. It's a cheap way to provide modern transport to strings of villages, with direct connections to businesses, markets, industries, factory estates and farms. In many cases these new routes will be narrow gauge, to keep the costs down even more.

Expect to see at least a few of these connnecting to the S&D in the future!


Richard said...

Brilliant piece of film, Illustrates well the whole concept of local services. Not only did the system work well, but the people involved seem to be happy and content! Mankind has always had a hankering after more and more speed. In this age of more and more speed and efficiency, I wonder sometimes if we have as many happy and contented people? Efficiency is a job well done,and speed may well be a separate issue. Bring back local services- and lets have more happy and contented people!

Sunshiner said...

It may be a film from the past but I suspect it's also a vision for the future. Certainly most people in 'jobs' tend to feel pretty unconnected from the natural world, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of fun involved either. But this film shows that that life wasn't that far away in time. The Wisbech and Upwell reminds me of the S&D in so many ways, even though it was totally different!

Paul said...

I agree it does remind of the S&D. The reason i think is the local connection...serving everybody along the whole length of the line, run as though everyone is in a big family, pride in the job....it also evokes that...feeling....i cant really describe what the feeling is, maybe its just nostalgia, but i dont think so... it just makes me feel a bit more optimistic for our future...everything seemed to tick along like clockwork then.