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, March 11, 2012

bailey gate memories

Chris Smith has kindly provided the following memories of Bailey Gate

I used to live in Station Road, Bailey Gate, I used to catch the
train from Bailey Gate to Poole and Bournemouth West where the S&D
terminated. I have memories of giving farmers a hand to load sugar
beet onto coal trucks in the sidings. A local coal merchant also
used to have coal dropped off behind the station. I also remember
the Pines Express running through the station at 6:00pm with a second
train in the summer, following at 6:10pm, the first being full.

Entrance to both platforms from the Bailey Gate end of the village
was down a slopping path that ran from the side of the road off the
bridge to the right. This took you to a footway across the double
tracks to the station, At the far end of the up platform was the
signal box, there was also a small covered waiting shelter.You
crossed the line on a wooden crossing where the first building was
the wooden lamp shed painted yellow. The next building was the
station, with a waiting room and ticket office and station masters
office. The other access to the station was down the vehicle roadway
and around the side of the station, The area around the station was
made secure by concrete posts with seven strands of plain
wire. Shortly before the line was closed both the up and down sides
of the line north of the station had the posts and wire replaced with
new posts and wire from the station to close to

During the war Goebells made claims that the cheese factory had been
bombed twice, both were pure propaganda. As I grew up in the
village, and both my father and my step father worked at the "factory
or UD" as it was known by everyone in village, I heard many tales
about the factory's  production, mostly that it was the largest
cheddar cheese producing factory in Europe.
There were also watercress beds just off the A350 near Bailey House
and they used the S&D at Bailey Gate to ship watercress to the north
of England. I can remember the boxes waiting on carts to be loaded
onto trains.

Thanks for an interesting site, by the way I paid a visit to the
Gartell Light Railway a few months ago, and it really brought back
memories of living next to the S&D

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