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!

Friday, March 09, 2012

bit of a treat?


Midsomer Norton greenhouse

Midford 1960s.


Gartell Railway.


Gartell double heading.


Charlton Marshall.
Midsomer Norton 1960s.


Midford.


Shillingstone - before track.


Midsomer Norton.


Evercreech Junction.


Blandford.


Spetisbury.


Midford.


Midford - very first bit of clearance - September 2010.


Narrow gauge at Midford - 1980s/90s.


Shillingstone.


Henstridge - the 'inbetweener' years.

Well I hope it is! Apologies for no pics of Washford - couldn't find any from the album from which the above were drawn. Also apologies if I haven't attributed them, but they have been attributed earlier! This is just to try to get a taste of all we've done up and down the line for the S&D together with a few looking back on the original route.

Someone asked me on Facebook to explain the different groups restoring/preserving the S&D - this is what I came up with.

The Midsomer Norton group has been going about 20 years, formed when the site was about to be built on! They are now running trains over a short stretch of line and have rebuilt the whole site at Midsomer Norton including restoring the station buildings and goods shed which survived and rebuilding the signalbox and greenhouse which were completely demolished. This group is the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Group. They were formed with the intention of 'supporting a 21st century rebuilding of the line for modern trains' which is what inspired the New S&D. They intend to rebuild back to Radstock where they will connect with the ex-GWR line to Frome, which is in situ throughout and heavily used by stone trains from Great Elm. They also plan to extend over the Mendips to Shepton Mallet and have planned a diversionary route around Shepton to possibly connect with the East Somerset Railway.
Shillingstone has been going around 10 years and have been particularly active over the last year or so. They have also rebuilt a completely demolished signalbox, the station building had been well preserved. They have a short length of running line but no public trains as yet. They have long term plans to extend northwards to Sturminster Newton. This is owned by the North Dorset Railway Trust.
The Gartell Railway is a privately owned narrow gauge line just south of Templecombe which uses about a half mile of S&D trackbed and is now extending northwards closer to Templecombe. It is strongly S&D flavoured. This runs around 7 or 8 times a year.
The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust is based at Washford on the West Somerset Railway, but was originally based on the S&D at Radstock where it ran special trains to Writhlington, but was forced off site in around 1975. Their lease at Washford finishes in 2020 and they are expected to return to the S&D, either at an existing site or at a new one. They own a 7F loco which runs on the WSR, currently posing as fictional prussian blue liveried no 88.
The New S&D was formed on 6 March 2009 with the intention of restoring the whole route for modern trains in the post oil era. We own Midford station and a quarter mile of trackbed outright and are also about to take on Spetsibury (in Dorset) on a lease. The intention is to fully restore these stations, also to probably lay track at Spetisbury and possibly extend to Charlton Marshall and to just south of Blandford. We will also acquire trackbed etc as it becomes available, based on the Exmoor Associates model at the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. We will also lobby for restoraton of the route in its entirety as part of a 21st restoration of the whole rail network.
All the groups work closely together with regular meetings every 6 months, we also share members and sometimes skills and equipment.

1 comment:

sebastian said...

I must say the photo of the point work with the up and down running lines look first class, real mainline feel, well done, it is almost hard to believe the photo in my Somerset & Dorset then and now book that the line was taken up Midsomer ,Norton is looking great. you are ding an excellent job.