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, April 30, 2012


You all know I'm a bit of a car nut and I LOVE this video of driving in 1963.

Within 20 years, probably less, few if any of us will still be driving. The car will simply vanish, a victim of its inability to be flexible with fuel. A few will no doubt survive in museums, but that is all.

I've been photographing cars for years, and hope more of you will do the same. We need to all do our part to record this so brief form of transport. Not just the cars, but the lorries, buses etc that also will use the roads for a few more years. And also of course all the associated infrastructure - garages, motorway services etc, because once they're gone they'll be gone for good.

And again I urge you all to get out and take photos of diesel trains - they may not even survive as long as cars and buses.

It's so good that somebody had the foresight  to capture the roads way back in 1963, but how many other people did it? Our kids and their kids will look in wonder back to the days when almost everyone had their own funny little metal box on wheels. Eventually cars and roads may even gain a certain nostalgic glamour ... and who knows, there may even be one or two preserved roads with the odd car or bus shuttling along it.


Knoxy said...

unbelievably this is the same year as the Beeching report when Marples & co decided to tip all the traffic off the rails onto these roads, clogged them up and built even more only to do just the same.

Sounds quite mad now? 49 years later…..

WestfieldWanderer said...

Noted that driving standards haven't changed much over the years. :-). Didn't realise that flashing and hooting slow drivers was actively encouraged!

Also, unbelievably - to me at least, I got my provisional motorbike licence the year after this film was made and car licence the year following.

Nostalgia trip indeed. Didn't like driving much even then, but still doing so. Glutton for punishment, I guess.

Or lack of choice, given the (current) standard of the alternatives.