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, July 30, 2012


The New S&D has signed up for the Bristol Pound. This is a fantastic local development, following hot on the heels of Totnes and Lewes. It's a local currency that is designed to keep money spent in businesses in the Bristol area from 'leaking out'. We will of course accept Bristol pounds via the e-commerce site and also at Midford once we have a building there and can offer souvenirs, books, DVDs etc. We will also of course accept Bristol pounds for membership payments. Hopefully it won't be too long before Bournemouth pounds are available!

This is all part of the synergy between groups and businesses that are pushing us towards sustainable and resilient communities, essential as oil supplies become tight. As well as promoting cycling up and down the line we're committed to supporting local businesses when the time comes to tender for building projects. We have also supported the Windmill Hill Farm in Bristol where we held our AGM, this is a non-profit making community project just like ours.

We'll be seeing more and more of this building of an alternative economy that will help us make the transition from the Petroleum Interval to the Post Oil Age. The New S&D will sit very well in this new post-industrial Britain.


Neil said...

Full marks for this. The Transition movement is really on the way up.

I note the launch date for the Bristol Pound is this 19th September.

May it be a great success!

Eddystone said...

The signs are there the post oil era is having its first contractions!
The Olympics are quite an event-it's cost a fortune to put together and rightly so(really loved the Dover Event and the main opening-which was all about GREAT Britain). However its plain to me that all the rip off landlords and traders are thankfully not making a brass razoo.
Also the ticket touts have not had the field day they thought and the government won't be able to boast about a boosted GDP. Whatever happened to the altruism that this magnificent event is all about-why does it have to make an extortionate profit?
Austerity? asked Andrew Marr -we know nothing about it. In 1948 the visiting Olympians were put up in ex RAF camps-and were grateful. Or, maybe we do...perhaps the austerity value in 2012 runs deeper with the public than is commonly thought -refusing to react to a blatant example of Bullshine Economy in our capital city.
Perhaps the worm is turning with communities refusing to tow the line on successive governments' reckless obsession with monetarist growth over social awareness and services over production. The people are simply refusing to spend till they get a fair deal-good on them! This has nothing to do with party politics -but the big 3 parties risk a return to a semi bucolic backdrop to the economy (actually something I find quite attractive) where community government and community organisations just get on with it. Growth would be incidental not essential. This is true 'Big Society'. Thank goodness there are some great MP's around who are already showing us the way.
Why can't the rest of the government take a leaf out of HM The Queen's book and wish us to know that they care rather than getting us to care about what they know.
Imagine travelling two stops down the line to meet your Bank manager-one you have grown up with and is always there. Just one facet of a wonderful way of life cornerstoned by a transport system to cherish.

Eddystone said...

In the proposed new UK transport system is it envisaged that coastal steamers and sailing vessels will be found plying between our revived smaller ports?

Neil said...


A far-sighted, intelligent comment.

My formative years were spent by the River Severn. I see Sharpness Docks is not used much these days. It is a deep port and can service large boats. It is also at the mouth of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, which in turn feeds into the Stroadwater Canal, undergoing restoration as we write.

A few years will see these invaluable assets back in use for commerce and leisure for all.

The proposed restoration of the Beaver Line from Sharpness to Berkeley Road will also change the carriage of freight in the area: lorries off the road with float and rail giving much more efficient, gentle logistics and badly-needed employment.

Your comment will take shape but must be included in all area plans and the like. Now is not the time to remain silent. We have put up with the lunatics running the asylum for too long.

Common sense, fairness, good economics, good judgement and reason must prevail to avoid catastophe around the country

Eddystone said...

If I may introduce the Dover Steamship Co Ltd