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!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I have to hand it to Compulsory Purchase Man - if I ever need new ideas for blog posts I can always count on him to send me something from his alternate reality universe to spark ideas!

His latest missive (unpublishable of course) announces that he is minded to 'hate the S&D' because he's tracked down a member of ours who has been 'asked to leave several heritage railways'! This is great stuff! Of course no clues as to who he means, and I rather wonder if it would matter anyway. I'm sure that all the ACTIVE New S&D members are certainly not guilty of this heinous crime. There are, it's true, a number of characters who seem to drift from heritage group to heritage group, but why not? Though how this unlikely occurence would leave CPM to 'hate the S&D' I can't imagine.

Hate's a strong word, but perhaps it does show how passionate some people can be about this line! Love it or hate it you can't ignore it!

I'm sorry to say I'm not passionate about the S&D - I don't have the time sadly. I'm passionate about cats, music and skiing. But many hard working S&D supporters ARE passionate that's for sure. It's because of passion that we have Ivo's fantastic record of the old line in its heyday, it's because of passion that Midford has emerged from the undergrowth. Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone exist because some people were absolutely passionate about these locations and worked like mad to make things happen, despite the jibes of people like CPM.

So I suspect passion will always be present around the S&D. Perhaps if I ever retire I can get a slice of it myself! I'm certainly passionate about the NEW S&D, and what it will bring. So I'm part of the way there!
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Eddystone said...

CPO man will have to realize that he would have no raison d'etre if there were no New S&D. His attempts at vexatious criticism merely reflect right back on himself-and make the NS&D even more determined to succeed even more quickly. Big Up for CPO Man-hero of the inverted inspiration syndrome.I'll think of him when I'm carrying out my next boiler washout-at nozzle selection time!

Sunshiner said...

Spot on. The trolls are a sad breed - I don't really get why they do it. Issues going back years possibly. He's just been back on, whining away about the fact I won't post his mad ramblings. Now he's reckoning it's ME who was asked to leave all these groups, which is hilarious. I've been involved with three other groups in my life - The Bluebell Railway back in the late 70s - I did a day on trackwork in the freezing cold but it was so difficult getting there by public transport that I never managed to get there again. I did some coach work at the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway but had to move back down to Sussex when my son lost his sight. Oh, and five years at Midsomer Norton where I'm a life member and still take part in the joint trusts meetings as well as 2016 planning, and left after being diagnosed with diabetes. I gave them six months notice! None of this is secret. So I'd like to challenge him to say which other heritage groups I've been chased away from!!

Of course it may be that he's got me mixed up with somebody else.

It seems that dear CPM has a personal dispute with me now which is odd as he clearly knows nothing about me! I know it has something to do with anti-Occupy posts in very different places - I made the mistake of pointing out the New S&D when he asked me what I was doing for the future! The nonsense started then.

Fortunately I'm thick skinned and our egotistical friend has, as you say, just hardened all our resolves to get the New S&D up and running ASAP.

I think we should erect a little statue of him somewhere along the route, perhaps squinting over a little computer running Windows 95 whilst rocking backwards and forwards, clutching a CPO in his hand.

He has been great fun, and I for one hope he continues to fire his hilarious missives at me - I may even publish the occasional one!