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

stating the obvious!

A Telegraph article stating the obvious but welcomed all the same. Clearly we're still not getting our message over strongly enough because the S&D isn't one of the five lines mentioned! We'd still love to have someone within the organisation whose sole responsibility will be publicity/lobbying for the S&D. If interested please email me at leysiner@aol.com

The most extraordinary thing that comes out of this article is that some councils are STILL promoting road schemes over rail reinstatement. What planet are they living on? I thought government had abandoned all road development in any case ...

Miles of rail line could be re-opened

Miles of railway line shut under the Beeching Axe could be reopened under an overhaul of the rail industry.

Network Rail engineers work on the track, train track, rail track, transport, travel
Work is already under way on reopening a rail line between Bicester in Oxfordshire and Bletchley in Buckinghamshire Photo: PA
It has been more than 50 years since Dr Richard Beeching recommended the closure of hundreds of branch lines in his report The Reshaping of British Railways.
More than 4,000 miles of railway and 3,000 stations were closed in the decade following the report.
But now disused stations and lines could be brought back into life as the network adapts to shifts in the population over the last 50 years.
The move comes against a backdrop demand for rail travel, which has seen more people using the trains than at any time since the late 1920s.
Currently there are 1.35 billion journeys a year, nearly 500 million more than a decade ago on a network which has barely grown after the wholesale line closures of the early 1960s.
The change reflects both economic growth since the 1990s and a rise in the number of people wiling to commute by train rather than drive.
“It is clear that some lines were shut in the 1960s which should not have been shut,” Norman Baker, the local rail minister, told the Daily Telegraph. “There is a consistent drumbeat about lines which should be open.
“Re-opening lines helps local communities, gets people back onto trains which has economic and social benefits.”
Work is already under way on reopening a rail line between Bicester in Oxfordshire and Bletchley in Buckinghamshire.
Eventually, it is hoped, this could restore the “Varsity Line”, linking Oxford and Cambridge.
Other potential candidates include:
– The Lewes-Uckfield route in East Sussex, providing an alternative to the Brighton mainline.
– The line between Bourne End and High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire which would link the Great Western and Chiltern lines.
– The Okehampton-Bere Alstom link, which would provide a second route between Exeter and Plymouth
– The line between Stansted and Braintree in Essex.
Ministers hope that the Government's plans to cut industry’s running costs will make reopening lines more affordable.
Also plans to devolve control of local rail services to councils will enable them to identify candidates. especially with the Government planning to give them a greater say under how cash is spent.
Under the proposals published earlier this week, local authorities would be expected to fund the schemes for at least three years to prove they are viable, after which the Department for Transport would take over responsibility – subject to cash being available.
The Government’s proposals were welcomed by Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport.
”I think it is now generally accepted that the Beeching report went too far. There are a number of sizeable places that aren't on the rail network where reopening lines and stations would make good economic sense, and there are also 'missing links' between key towns.
“Many of these places suffer from traffic congestion and people really want a choice in how they get around, rather than being forced to use cars.
“We hope the Government will find ways of helping local communities develop reopening schemes, as a first step we'd like to see possible reopening routes safeguarded in the planning system so they don't get built on."
Ralph Smyth, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, described the announcement as a “definite move forward”
But, he added, “The funding isn’t there and many areas are prioritising road schemes.
“The Government needs to tell councils to come up with rail schemes and change the funding rules to make it possible.”


Simon Ible said...

Is there a page on Facebook to 'Like'. I did look, but couldn't see one. As People who are vaguely interested would be able to show their support and receive updates, and Facebook itself would then alert other people to the fact that a friend had liked the page raising awareness

Simon Ible said...

Have you got a Facebook Page to 'Like'. I did look but couldn't see one. This would let people show their support for reopening the line, and receive some updates on progress.

More importantly it would raise awareness as Facebook will then inform their friends that they have 'liked' the page, encouraging more to like it.

Sunshiner said...

There's a Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/somersetanddorsetrailway/

There is a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-New-Somerset-and-Dorset-Railway/291472773872 that you can 'like' but not much appears here - most goes to the Facebook group