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!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

fawley revival

(All copyright Steve Sainsbury - 22.3.1975)

The return of passenger trains to a freight-only branch line in Hampshire has moved a step closer. A viability study for the re-introduction of services to Hythe has been approved by Hampshire County Council.
Following completion of a Grip2 study, which established a business case for using the line beside Southampton Water, the council will undertake a technical study to identify the infrastructure that would be needed, calculate passenger demand and assess how it could be funded. The line would serve Totton, Hounsdown, Marchwood and Hythe.
Passenger services ended on the line in 1966. It remains lightly used by freight trains to the military port at Marchwood and the oil refinery at Fawley. The case for re-opening the line is based on providing an hourly shuttle between Hythe and Southampton Central, with a 23-minute journey time. The Grip3 study will start this spring.

This is an interesting development. I visited this line on a Branch Line Society tour back in 1975. Fawley itself is quite small but Hythe is bigger. There should be a fair amount of originating traffic from the three towns en route. Commuting will be made far easier. This line was not even iopened until 1925 and was technically a light railway although promoted by the Southern Railway. Freight traffic is mainly from the refinery at Fawley, but there was a military line at Marchwood which may still exist. This line was part of the itinary on the BLS tour but thanks to the IRA we couldn't travel on this line! So there was other freight traffic.

This line is fortunate in that it has stayed open for freight, which makes reopening so much easier. But if we can justify trains to Hythe, Marchwood and Fawley how on earth can we resist trains to Blandford, Norton-Radstock, Shepton Mallet and Wells?

I can't wait to travel on this route again!


Neil S. said...

This is excellent news.

The S and D will ride again.

I hope the Bridport branch will be looked at again. I've fond memories of the Bristol Templemeads to Weymouth trip.

The return of the S and D to Bournmouth from Bath will happen, along with others.

I see there is some talk of re-opening the Thornbury, S Glos line but the best in that area, to relieve traffic, will be the Wye Valley line from Chepstow to Monmouth.

Monmouth to Bournmouth? Never again would you holiday in Spain.
What lovely scenery and interesting people.


Lee Bumstead said...

Marchwood Sidings are still there and in operation. Frieghtliner store a lot of wagons there as well.

Marchwood station platforms are still very much intact. As far as I know, the platform at Hythe no longer exists, but I believe that Hythe platform still exists.

There is still the usual talk about the increased use of the level crossing at Totton - but I doubt that will stop this from happenig - they could always build a bridge.

23 minutes is pretty good. Currently, by bus, it takes 30 to get to Hythe and 48 minutes to get to Hythe.

Anonymous said...

Great !! A line opening in the SOUTH [we hope]