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!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

a different perspective

6th March used to be a date when all S&D fans used to grind their teeth or, worse, shed a tear or two. But I think we can begin to put those shows of nostalgic negativity behind us.

True, the S&D was closed on that date back in 1966, but it's now clear that that was a temporary closure. It took a while for rebuilding to begin, but there are now 4 sites along the line, with another due to start shortly, that are being developed. New lengths of rail seem to be going down every weekend, sometimes at all three sites with rails!

There are now 7 or 8 locomotives based on the route together with plenty of passenger and goods stock. There are over 1000 people who are members of some or all of the groups.

These are the first footholds on the route. These sections are now safely preserved for rail, as is the quarter of a mile of trackbed at Midford.

6th March doesn't really matter any more. The dates that will matter are the reopening dates of each section as it becomes viable.

Once the S&D was described as 'Sabotaged and Defeated'. Sabotaged perhaps, but certainly not defeated. It's my firm belief that it was the disgusting and craven way the line was closed that will ensure that it has an amazing future.

It's not going to be easy or smooth bringing the whole route back - but it's return is certain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said that man. I am far to young to remember the original S&D but cant wait to see its return to glory. There are many hurdles along the way but it's all down to the height you are willing to jump to reach the finish line. If we all pull together the destructive works of Dr Beaching can be undone. Over the last few weeks I have visited a few of the sites along the route to establish in my own mind the task ahead. I have seen what can only be described as a crime scene at many but I spend a bit of time trying to imagine what the sites were like in the days of steam and what we all have to look forward to on the lines return. Please continue all your hard works and well done so far. Regards To everyone involved Andrew Clapp.