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, June 27, 2012

spetisbury this weekend

 I will up at the station this coming Sunday. If anyone would like to come up and keep me company, I would appreciate it. I should be there between 10 and 11am. Usual common sense rules apply, and if you are not a member of The New S&D, I can sort that out with you at the time. Those of you on my e-mail list will be getting an e-mail as well. See you there!
Dean Cockwell, Project Manager

passing ...

This video underlines the amazing progress made at Midsomer Norton over the last few years. When I started there the sidings had not even been connected to the main line, and we had no locomotives. It's looking amazing!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

spetisbury today

Stuart Mills is going to be up at the station doing more clearance work. Please feel free to go up and help him! Believe me, he needs help. But thats another matter! Ahem! Anyway, get on up there and do your bit. There is plenty to do.

Monday, June 18, 2012

midford - more precision surveying!

Some excellent information re Midford from Nick Howes.

Have discovered, from photos and stay anchor measurements that the 206 linear yard distance of the upper inner home bracket and consequent 5 push dummy in the 6 foot way is the c. pre 1933 measurement. Sometime in the 30s or 40s the upper inner home was moved some 20 yards south.

5 pull, wrong road arm on the platform is actually 47 linear yards from the box not 35.

49’3” 8 arch viaduct spans are the 1873 measurement. Encased in brick on doubling, reduced the spans to 48’10”, not corrected on the civil engineers returns.

Distance of wrong road arm/down home on long arch bridge is correct if you take the rodding run measurement, not the linear point to point measurement along the track as it snakes up the cutting face and over the top of the long arch bridge at 90 degrees.

concrete wall between the signalbox and station building is not original and about 5 feet further north than it used to be.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

looking ahead - midford

Having done an intense 3 day photo and measuring study of every facet of Midford, I firmly believe this is room for a single track railway and cyclepath from north of Tucking Mill viaduct to Wellow Trekking Centre, excepting a diversion for cyclists before Midford goods yard, over Long Arch bridge and along Midford platform. Hope and Anchor patrons can park on the site of Midford B goods yard.

The formation between Long Arch bridge south portal cutting slope and Midford platform is 25 feet wide minimum, 15 feet for railway and 10 for slewed to edge of drop-off cycle path, with appropriate fencing and masonry.

Pway materials (30 feet flat bottom, sleepers and ballast) could be delivered to “A” goods yard and the crane / loading gauge, weighbridge and huts put back with 2 box vans.

Thanks to Nick Howes for this.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

midford tomorrow

There will be a work party at Midford tomorrow (17.6.2012) from 10.30am. Please try to get along! Spetisbury is taking the day off for Fathers' Day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

the perfect present

One of our members has emailed to say that when his daughter asked what he would like for Father's Day this coming weekend he asked her to make a £10 donation to our Track Fund Appeal. He hopes his other children will follow suit! I realise that the way I have arranged the email listing alphabetically means I cannot differentiate between our male and female members, not those who have no children but if you are in the same position as our member he has asked me to commend this as a possible way of helping the Trust. Over to all Dads!
John Baxter
Vice Chairman, S&DRHT

Thursday, June 14, 2012

can you help?


Articles and photos (S&D related) for the New S&D's RIGHT LINES magazine, which is being relaunched as a quality glossy from issue 3 (available June/July 2012)

Please send to

hendersongrant23@o2.co.uk by latest Monday 18 June 2012 at 17:00.

New S&D chairman's report

This will be appearing in the New S&D's magazine, 'RIGHT LINES', in a few weeks' time. Hopefully it boils down the last six months activity and I haven't missed anything!

Chairman's Report

June 2012

It's fantastic that Philip Marsh and Grant Henderson have formed an editorial team to produce a magazine twice a year. I was well aware that members living a distance from the line were not really getting value for money for their membership fee, but until people stepped forward we were rather stuck! Can I ask all of you to try to provide articles and letters, and send in photos for the next edition.

Another relatively new member, Dean Cockwell, has worked wonders down at Spetisbury, negotiating with Dorset County Council and getting a team together to restore the station.

Up at Midford Tom and Stuart Seale have done sterling work rescuing this most iconic station from the undergrowth - work on rebuilding the station is now not too far away. Other members (even myself!) have helped as well, but 95% of the work has been done by the Seales.

Both Spetisbury and Midford will be rebuilt to serve as information offices for the whole line and will also have shops to make each site self-financing.

We have also approached Network Rail Property to see if Templecombe box will become available for lease at some time in the future. Whilst the site is currently still within NR's Operational area, it may well switch to Commercial at some time in the future, at which point we could negotiate to take on this site with a similar role to that of Spetisbury and Midford but with the added attraction of a Network line running past the front door.

The branches meanwhile are still in deep sleep, despite the potential of Wells, Glastonbury, Burnham and the Glastonbury Festival sites all being on route. If any of you would like to get something started on the branches please let us know! We are here to help local initiatives get started.

We've had an influx of new officers join the committee, some with fixed roles and others as general members. Thank you all for agreeing to get involved at this level!

Elsewhere on the S&D all three established sites - Midsomer Norton, Shillingstone and Gartell - have recently laid extra track, and now Midsomer Norton has joined Gartell in running regular passenger trains. Midsomer Norton is an absolute gem and a credit to all of those who have helped make this happen.

On the Sunday before the Jubilee holiday, ALL five S&D sites had work being done on them, running trains, rebuilding etc. What a turn around from the dark 80s and 90s when hardly anything was happening! The S&D was a line destined to live forever, or as close as possible, and the closure was stupid. But back in the 60s people had other priorities and a very different view of the future, expecting to be getting around in flying cars or jet packs, eating space paste from tubes!

The last five to ten years have seen some amazing developments in the railway field, from huge passenger loadings on the Network, through the building of Tornado, the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland Railway and the incredible sight (in Porthmadog) of regular steam passenger trains running through the streets.

Many lines that missed the first and second waves of preservation now have groups determined to rebuild them. The Glyn Valley Tramway in Wales for example, the Helston branch and the missing link between Bodiam and Robertsbridge - did even the most optimistic of us really think these things would happen? And in 2014 a good proportion of the Waverley line will be reopened, a reinstatement that required the demolition of many homes built on the trackbed since closure.

This is the background in which we need to set the S&D revival. The world is changing, the oil is running out and we've all seen the effects of climate change over the past few years. Meanwhile the roads continue to deteriorate and many people are giving up their cars. And this is before the cost of fuel even begins to really impact on most of us.

In 20 years the railway map of Britain will be much expanded, the S&D will be well on the road to complete reopening, there will be new build routes opening up as well as many of the Beeching cuts reversed. We do blend heritage and 'real' running, but all lines will eventually if they are to survive. It won't be easy by any means, and there will be upsets and hold ups on the way, but remember that it will get easier as each day passes!

Steve Sainsbury MA


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

midsummer at midsomer


Please share, repost or even print and distribute the 'Midsummer at Midsomer' poster. This is one of the Trust's principle weekend events - the more visitors the better.

midsomer norton in june

Some excellent shots of the amazing progress being made at Midsomer Norton, the north end of the Mendip Mainline Project. The DMU is now running passenger services every Sunday and the line will soon be further extended southwards towards Chilcompton.

Thanks for permission to use these shots via the Somerset and Dorset Railway Facebook group - well worth joining!

Monday, June 11, 2012

trackbed trespassers removed ...

Houses at Gorebridge, south of Edinburgh, are demolished to make way for the new Waverley route.

In accordance with my new policy, an article on the use of CPOs to clear trespassers from the Waverley route appears here on my new blog!

Friday, June 08, 2012

get involved!

Dear Member
Proposed Bath Area Group
You may have seen the article by the Chairman in the latest S&D Telegraph proposing the establishment of area groups, which it has been further suggested could run jointly with the other S&D societies. The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust has had an area group in Bath, run jointly with the Swanage Railway, for a number of years. Two of the present organisers are standing down this summer and with declining attendances at meetings it is proposed to discontinue the group. However there would appear to be an opportunity to continue the group by making it joint with the S&DRHT, provided sufficient interest exists.
The final meeting of the existing group is an evening of member’s presentations on Monday 2nd July, 7.30pm at St Mary’s Church Hall, Bathwick Hill, Bath (at junction with Pulteney Road). The hall is to the right of the church, a small car park to the left, but further parking available in the streets off Bathwick Hill. You are invited to come along to the meeting if interested in the continuation as a joint group, in particular if you are willing to help with the ongoing organisation of the group. Please invite any others you may know who would be interested and contact me if you are interested in assisting but are unable to attend the meeting.
Yours sincerely
Mike Beale
Reply-To: Michael Beale <cate_mike_beale@yahoo.co.uk>

Monday, June 04, 2012

spetisbury progress

(All copyright Dean Cockwell)

Eleven shots giving some idea of the progress being made at Spetisbury over this bank holiday period. As well as clearance some artefacts from the original line have been recovered.

The Spetisbury Team are planning to put a cabin on site for storage and shelter.

Spetisbury was just one of the Famous Five S&D sites being restored or operated over the long bank holiday period. There is now restoration and rebuilding taking placve all along the route, frpm Spetisbury in the south to Midford in the north.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

separated ...

The 'Dying roads, Vibrant rail' blog is now up and revived. This is a revamped 'Transition Transport' blog so already has a fair amount of content. This new blog will have news from line revival schemes, small and large, standard and narrow gauge, from around the UK and further afield. It will also look at the slow death of roads, historical aspects of transport, Peak Oil, climate change and the economic situation, all of which are interlinked.

Dying roads, vibrant rail can be found here.