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, August 26, 2012

midford at washford

We've just had a five day break at the White Horse Inn at Washford (recommended!) and travelled on the WSR. As we waited for the first train of the day a couple of the Washford S&D members were chatting to us (they'd heard of me!). I got the chance to pull a couple of the signals on site using the levers in the reconstructed Midford signalbox. I know I'm a dyed-in-the-wool modernist but I also have an interest in how things used to be done, as doubtless this will be how things will be done in an energy-constrained future. The signalbox is a credit to the members at Washford and it was a real pleasure meeting them. I also got some EXCELLENT second hand books in the sales area - way better than I've seen elsewhere.
Who knows, one day this fine exhibit may be winging its way back home to Midford ...


RailWest said...

"The signalbox is a credit to the members at Washford....."

Glad you liked it, but to be fair most of the credit must go to the former Curator who put it all together in the first place. Now it needs to be put back into full working order :-(

"Who knows, one day this fine exhibit may be winging its way back home to Midford ..."

Well, of course, that all depends upon what the SDRT does about its Museum after the lease at Washford expires in 2020. There IS the option to re-lease the station and signal-box.

Sunshiner said...

I wasn't aware of the option available to lease the station and box after 2020. That is good news indeed as it makes Washford really distinctive on the WSR and the shop was vastly better (at least the second hand bit!) from anything elsewhere along the line, which was geared far more towards tourists.

RailWest said...

Although the option exists, at the moment it is just that - an option. Whether it will be practical for the SDRT to maintain a presence there (and to be honest, not many visitors really understand its distinction from the rest of the WSR) AND support the rest of its activities relocated elsewhere remains to be determined by the Committee.

You can read more about the 'Midford' signal-box display at http://www.sdrt.org/trust/resources/resource.php?resource=midfordsignalbox