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!

Monday, March 05, 2012

the beginning of the end?

This is an interesting intro to a radio programme as it actually brings up some fresh ideas on why car use is falling. It's not just cost, but also environmental awareness and a creeping feeling that cars are simply no longer cool. They are now seen as safe and fuddy-duddy, quite a contrast to the big American cars of the 50s or the classic British cars of the 60s (which I still love). I think you can extrapolate from this that the doomed electric, hybrid and other exotic fuel cars which may or not appear will be equally - or even more - uncool and safe.

Yet at the same time trams and trains are seen as increasingly cool, everybody wants them and everyone wants to use them. Even the old hobby of trainspotting's current manifestation as railway enthusiasm is cool. I wonder why?

Thanks to David Robins for the link!

The car was once the symbol of youthful cool. From James Dean through Steve McQueen to Ayrton Senna the car was a symbol of freedom, daring and sexual allure. Today the young of the western world have turned their back on the car. Half of American 17-year-olds have a driver's licence today compared with three-quarters in 1998 and in Europe car sales are down whilst public transport use is up.
Is it simply that insurance costs have rocketed for young drivers? Is it because the young remain in education for longer? Are our youth becoming more environmentally aware or is it because cars have become safe, reliable and downright dull?
In 'Costing the Earth' Tom Heap takes to the road from the Streets of San Francisco to the inner ring roads of the West Midlands to find out if the age of the car is coming to an end. He meets the marketing men, the manufacturers and the innovators struggling to retain a place in our affections for the motor car.
Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.


  1. Tue 6 Mar 2012
  2. Wed 7 Mar 2012


Toddington Ted said...

Ah, the Morris Marina. What a car! I remember that particular grotty shade of mustard (Dad owned an Austin 1800 in the same gopping colour). Where did they all go? Scrappies of course!
Interesting that my younger son was very anxious to learn to drive and my eldest son really can't be bothered. Both are now at city universities and a car would be at best an expensive nuisance and at worst, well a very expensive taxi and nuisance. I don't think my eldest son will ever learn to drive to be honest and maybe he doesn't really need to - lets hope he doesn't. I have to laugh when I see people whinging on the TV news about the price of petrol/diesel because this is just the start. Exellent images of Midford btw and some wonderful photos now on the Shillingstone site.

Sunshiner said...

I once drove one of these monstrosities - took it to Germany and back once!

Knoxy said...

i had one. cost me £40 and i drove it for three months with no use of the clutch!

early morning on a route with no junctions, well ones that i had to stop at. and a roll down the hill to start. Kids today don't know what we had to go through in the car culture 80/90's?

it went to the scrappies, soon after!

much safer by train.....

Sunshiner said...

When I think of some of the things car-related I did when I was younger I'm amazed I'm still here. I once drove the whole length of France without brakes. Drove through a blizzard in Scotland without windscreen wipers. Once got driven round Littlehampton by a maniac after he'd drained the car of oil and water and was overtaking on blind corners - and if something was coming would slow down and accelerate away at literally the last second!

I've never been a danger on trains though I did lob a pig's heart out of a train window at Angmering level crossing - but I was only 13!

Keith Browning said...

My first company car was an Austin Maxi. I thought i was a bus driver.

The reason was simple - Austin Bide was chairman of BL and also chairman of Glaxo group. No-one worked out how he could have two full time jobs.

We had several thousand cars nationwide and they were all from British Leyland. When he retired I became the first person in the company to drive a Ford Cortina (Mark 4 !!)

Happy days