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!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


There have been changes to the locomotive line-up for the West Somerset Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala which takes place on the 20 miles of line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead over the 4 days October 4th to 7th.

Sadly the Midland Railway Centre has been unable to release the Caprotti British Railways 5MT 73129 but in its place the WSR has been able to hire Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 43106. The "doodle bugs” came to the S&D before their original steaming problems were resolved but they were part of "Joint Line” history. In addition not merely is 43106 the only survivor of the 162 which were built but it will be the first time that any member of the class to work on the line to Minehead.

The superb recreation of Green Park in 4mm scale by the Taunton Model Railway Group will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in their Club Room at Bishops Lydeard station.

92203 "Black Prince” will be heading a non-stop "Pines Express” in both directions on Saturday 6th and there is pre-bookable dining space on the trains for those who wish to join various visitors including Peter Smith and Aubrey Punter on a special day out. More details and bookings via 01643 704996 or online. Or if you prefer a different view of the line there are a limited number of places to travel in the brake vans of the goods trains.

So the full line up of engines due to be at the Gala is as follows:-

9F 2-10-0 92203 "Black Prince”:- "Black 5” 4-6-0 45379 (making its WSR debut):- Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 43106;- Somerset and Dorset "7F” 88:- GWR 4936 "Kinlet Hall”;- GWR 3850:- GWR 4160:- GWR 6960 "Raveningham Hall:- GWR 7828 "Norton Manor”; GWR designed "Mogul” 9351.

The loco diagrams will be part of the Souvenir Guide which is now at the printers and will be on sale for £4 at West Somerset Railway Stations (or can be ordered in advance by ringing 01643 with card details or by sending a cheque to West Somerset Railway, The Railway Station, Minehead, TA24 5BG).

Alan Hammond will be book signing on all four days and some of the newly issued range of buildings based on Shillingstone are on sale in the Minehead station shop (01643 700387 direct line)
And of course the Washford Museum will be open, offering an essential place to visit for all lovers of the Somerset and Dorset.

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