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 16, 2012

the other way to templecombe

(Copyright Steve Sainsbury - Salisbury 14.4.1986)

You can still get to Templecombe via rail if you use the excellent Salisbury to Exeter route. This is a line that almost vanished in the mad sixties, it was reduced to practically a llong siding with many local stations closed including Templecombe. It had dreadful problems with timekeeping thanks to the long stretches of single track.

Get real. This is a main line, wonderfully engineered and serving many towns en route. It was deliberately run down because the idiot Beeching thought that one main line to the west (the ex GWR route) would suffice in the Oil Age. Many useful branches were closed depriving seaside towns of modern transport. With the loss of the S&D even more useful track, diversionary routes and alternatives were lost - for a while! Yeovil lost its incredible useful shuttle service between the three Yeovil stations. I remember walking between Yeovil Junction and Pen Mill in the 80s - an absolute nightmare!

But things are happening. Stations have been reopened, new stretches of double track have appeared and services are improving. But the line has a long way to go before it matches, then surpasses, its glory days.

Here's a new website that will champion the route. We at the S&D obviously have a big interest in this route as we will connect with it in the future.
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1 comment:

Knoxy said...

The Beeching report was almost 49 years ago and haven't we suffered since....

Of course the railways didn't make a profit, the politicians took all the money making bits away, sold them off and then allowed them to compete against the railways!

The core network, (My view) isn’t there to make a profit, but there to provide service to the nation in its competitive need against other countries (business), social (our county’s well being) and pleasure (our well being).