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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

today at midford

(Copyright Stuart Seale 22.7.2012)

From Stuart Seale -

Midford 22 July 2012. What a cracking day we had. The weather was glorious. In the morning Tom Seale and I treated the platform, station area and Will Cummings' drilled tree stumps with a good dose of weedkiller. After lunchtime refreshment in the Hope and Anchor we proceeded to burn up the large pile of cut wood that had accumulated over the preceeding months. We also took the opportunity to remove a number of trees that looked a bit menacing to the public and disposed of the arisings to those too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

midford this coming sunday

From Stuart Seale
‎Tom Seale and I will be forming a work party at Midford this Sunday, 22 July from 10am (ish). All welcome to join us.


(All copyright Kevin Mitchell)

The restoration at Spetisbury (and to a lesser extent Midford) is throwing up lots of bits and pieces from the original line. We are also getting a lot of historical enquiries about the old line. We'll also need extensive records of buildings and infrastructure of the original line as we start to rebuild.

I suspect that these strands should be brought together in the person of a HERITAGE OFFICER. The heritage officer's role would be to store and identify artefacts safely, to answer enquries about the original (as opposed to the new) line and to build up an extensive archive and record of the route.

Does this appeal to any New S&D members? If you are interested please email leysiner@aol.com or telephone Steve Sainsbury on 0117 3738973.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Right Lines 4!

Right Lines Issue 4 is really starting to take shape now!

The "New Look" has been brought about by a new editorial team who are working to try and get a great magazine made for all our members!
For now, here is a preview of a first draft of the new logo for the magazine - what do you think?
If you want to get the magazine, it is free for all members, or will eventually be for sale from the group too!
Enjoy your new magazine!
Editorial team, Right Lines.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

spetisbury 15 July 2012

(Photo copyright Kevin Brettell)


I am going up to the station on Sunday, and hope that a few of you can join me. One thing on the agenda is replace the edging slabs that have been lifted. So I will need help! Anyone interested, please let me know as soon as possible.
Dean Cockwell, Project Manager


Thursday, July 12, 2012

great work!

Midsomer Norton South

The 'Bee Bed' has some visitors.

The Garden Gang have a policy of 'Garden Organic', in keeping with the approach we will be introducing 'Weed free Mondays' on the first Monday of each month. Please feel free to call by and give a hand, even if it's just for an hour - you'll find Midsomer Norton South is a very rewarding project to be involved in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

country style!

Oddly reminiscent of 1960s branch line tours over freight lines, this is a superb shot of Midsomer Norton's DMU at the far end of the existing line, soon to be extended.

I suspect that in five years' time there will be a double track main line at this point with regular steam operation.

Monday, July 09, 2012

spetisbury yesterday

(All copyright Kevin Mitchell)

There's plenty going down at Spetisbury with more and more of the platform surface being cleared with plenty of finds! There's quite a few people involved down there so it's happening quickly.

The best place for info and pictures is the Spetisbury Facebook page. Perhaps both Midford and Spetisbury should have their own blogs soon?

midford yesterday

(All pics 8.7.2012 copyright Stuart Seale)

Stuart Seale, Tom Seale and Will Cummings 
formed a work party at Midford yesterday to clear the bank above the station. It is amazing how quickly everything is growing this year. Tom strimmed the top of the bank and Will drilled into the tree st...umps so as to introduce some weedkiller (we need to kill the trees once and for all as they create too much recurring work). We had a great day and the weather was wonderful, if not a little on the hot side.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

midford tomorrow

There will be a work party at Midford tomorrow, Sunday 8 July from 10:00am (ish). Anyone welcome to join us.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

help (of the best kind!) wanted!

A plea for help from Lloyd Daniels.

I am working as a volunteer steward for the Railway Touring Company on their summer Sunday steam trains from Bristol. I have been asked to recruit others to help and whilst I realise that everyone needs their volunteer help at weekends there may just be someone that you know of who is suitable for the task (male or female) and free.

I am circulating the following to people in the area that I know who may have contacts willing to help out.

We are short of stewards on the RTC steam trains to Weymouth this coming Sunday 8th July (ideally need two more) and particularly on Sunday 15th July (when 3-4 more could be taken) when I am away on holiday.

There must surely be someone out there who would like a free steam train trip from Bristol to Weymouth and back in return for modest duties as a volunteer steward bolting/unbolting doors, giving out booklets, seeing passengers find their seats and generally keeping the allocated carriage tidy! Almost five hours to soak up the sun in Weymouth too - it was dry all day on Sunday and sunny for most of it in spite of rain all along the route going there.

I have exhausted my contacts without success and would be grateful if you know of anyone who might like to help to let me know or ask them to get in touch with me either by e-mail or telephone 01594 563960. I shall be out some days distributing publicity for the Par trains.

Thank you in anticipation of your help.
Lloyd Daniels

Monday, July 02, 2012

steam at Shillingstone!

(Both copyright Dave Clark)

Steam returned to Shillingstone in the shape of a traction engine! These machines were built to last - I remember seeing these being used in the 60s when they were operated by West Sussex County Council. Steam never quite caught on for road vehicles (that's perhaps something for the future)  but these particular machines were extremely versatile and could also be used to work machinery when stationary.