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!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

another glimpse into the future

I think yesterday's wood has gone to my head! I've been watching one of those TV programmes that I can never decide whether they are interesting or terribly patronising. Two blokes driving (LOL!) around England looking at 'heritage' projects. All nostalgia and volunteers etc. 'These things are dying', sort of attitude.

Rubbish! What they seem to be doing is giving us a glimpse into our sustainable and resilient future, but can't see that themselves. They are looking at simple machinery, simple products, proper skills. All things that will be returning soon enough!

They've just been chatting to a pole lathe turner, someone who will be an aristocrat post Peak Oil! Their material is wood, their product is something we will all use (bowls), they make their own tools and they use a lathe that uses hand power - no other energy required.

So I checked up and found that far from being a dying craft this is a vibrant and self-aware profession that is organised and growing. Check this out. Nothing to do with the past, everything to do with the future.

We'll all need to find something like this to do in the future, using skills to produce things people want that require little or no energy. And of course a nearby railway or tramway to bring in their raw materials and send out their products.
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chairmaker said...

"...They've just been chatting to a pole lathe turner, someone who will be an aristocrat post Peak Oil! "

I sincerely hope you're right!

Neil S. said...

It looks like you've some wonderful ash wood on the platform which can be burnt green or seasoned.

Those TV programmes im my view is the Metropolitan elite patroninsing we peasants in the provinces.

I've a number of academic qualifications but my most treasured one is that of hedge-laying.

I learnt it as a teen, forgot it and went back to it again. I can provide a lot of good fuel from only 10 yards and provide wildlife with a good home. Tricky enough splitting the pleachers/trucks of trees.

Another old skill not in the coffin by far in my view, especially in view of fuel poverty. Ash grows back in 8-10 years.

Eddystone said...

...and just where do simple ole steam loco fitters come in in the pecking order?

Sunshiner said...

A long long way above television presenters, that's for sure!

I really must start to learn a proper 'dying' trade so I can be useful when things get really difficult!

David B said...

On the subject of jobs, this film from the railway heydays give a good list of skills that'll be in demand in 20 year's time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSL7uWazWHo