It should sometimes be restated - the New S&D is committed to restoring the WHOLE S&D, not just Bournemouth to Bath but also the branches, plus the Bristol-Pensford-Radstock and Bailey Gate-Wimborne-Ringwood lines, plus the Ringwood to Brockenhurst line if not already restored by the Network when we reach Ringwood.
This doesn't mean that a few hundred mainly railway enthusiasts are going to raise the 1-2 billion pounds needed to restore these routes, rebuild the infrastructure and provide the locos and rolling stock. It doesn't mean that some time in the next five to ten years we will be running trains to all these destinations.
What it does mean is that constitutionally we exist to promote the S&D in its entirety, will encourage and support other groups restoring sections of the route (as at Shillingstone, Midsomer Norton and Gartell), will purchase sections of trackbed etc as they become available to protect them for railway use in perpetuity, and operate sections of the route as they become economocally viable. Full reinstatement may well be by the network, by a consortium of businesses or by emergency government decree. Or we may be so sharp that we manage to do this by ourselves by raising the money on the stock exchange and/or through local and regional share issues.
Whilst discussion about restoring tiny sections for narrow gauge etc are welcome we need to avoid project drift. We need to always state what we are about, and always keep our eyes on the bigger picture.
Whilst I doubt anyone would question the need for and viability of the Midsomer Norton/Shepton to Bath and Blandford-Poole sections we need to remember that the S&D is a network, not two branches, and that we'll have far greater flexibility (and profitability) as a through route with additional connections to the Network wherever we pass by it ie at Templecombe, Bruton etc.
Whilst local passenger and freight traffic will be the lifeblood of the route we also expect that much traffic will originate and/or terminate away from our metals. This is pretty much the same situation as the old S&D but of course the New S&D will, eventually, be far busier than the Old S&D was, even on summer Saturdays in the 1950s.