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 02, 2012

real work!

Just a thought here, if you read the excellent steaming to Broadway 2015 blogsite where a team of volunteers are currently rebuilding the long lost platforms they have engaged the assistance of young apprentice bricklayers from the college at Worcester. Would it not be an excellent idea if you could do the same here using young people from the Poole/Blandford area colleges /Senior schools. I know the red tape is a nightmare but if we can get the younger generation interested in learning REAL skills and the history of the S& D and why we must rebuild it and the criminally insane who closed it back in 1966 instead of dossing about street corners and playing rubbish on computers this can give them that esteem they require as adults and the respect and voice they wish to have and more good can come of this in Britain today. Again my late Father who as I stated earlier worked for the Southern Railway and BRSR ensured I left school into the adult world with that ethos of working for a living and enjoying a basic degree of knowledge of DIY skills and about the world we all live in, and this has helped out on countless times. This would be a brilliant chance to try and demonstrate to today,s young adults why the world of crime and drugs and binge Britain is not cool and maybe these youngsters would enjoy a physical challenge as well. I know some youngsters would deride us but this is not about playing trains, there are serious life skills involved in this fine project including Community, team work and fitness as well as the trade skills to be learnt. You only need to look at the friendly banter on many of these preservation projects between the young and not so young! the side kick from this, these youngsters would then pick up the right ethos and would be better armed ready to take up employment. (Sir Terry Leahy the Tsco chairman a few yrs ago bemoaned about todays youth.) Academics are fine to a degree but it is practical work that makes the world go round!

Again, this is a comment that really needs to be on the main page. I don't agree with generalising about whole groups of people - I suspect my experience of young people goes a lot deeper than Sir Terry Leahy! I think kids today have it much much harder than we did when I was a kid in the 60s, but this is the key. I know a few hang around on street corners and cause trouble (I know I did at that age) but the kids today seem far more sensible and grounded than we ever were.

 The S&D, and other community projects, can give many different people the skills and network they'll need to get on in the post oil world. Young people have the energy and also will have to live the majority of their lives in a harsher and far more hands-on world than we have now. The New S&D represents everything that the future will be. Sustainable, hands-on, recycle and reuse, community based, economically sound and unrelentingly modern and forwards-looking.

I'm sure that once Spetisbury needs these skills (and Midford) we will approach the appropriate colleges.

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