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, December 31, 2012


2012 has been a great year for the S&D. At the New S&D end we've continued tidying up Midford ready for rebuilding, whilst Spetisbury has progressed even more quickly with a strong team down in Dorset. The New S&D itself has grown a good deal (despite our continued deliberate low profile!) with membership now well over 150.

Midsomer Norton have started running regular trains using a DMU and are continuing to extend southwards, whilst still waiting for the right time to start looking northwards as well. The station itself is a delight and is well worth a few hours of anyones time!

Shillingstone have also gone up a few gears with the station and signalbox nicely restored/rebuilt with the down platform shelter now progressing. A good amount of track has also been laid at the site.

Gartell is as quietly wonderful as ever, currently the only line on S&D metals to be running regular steam, all on the two foot gauge.

Washford are progressing despite the deadline of 2020 on their lease at the current site at Washford, which I visited this year. There is a HUGE amount of affection for this group which we hope fervently will return to the S&D proper when the lease does run out.

No longer a dead line, the S&D now has FIVE sites either operating or being restored, with regular train services on two sections.

Affection for the S&D is stronger now than it has ever been and it would be a brave person indeed that didn't believe that at some time in the next fifty years the line won't be open throughout!

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