Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I have a lot of Facebook groups and a recent one is for the Weymouth Tramway. I've no idea why the following comment came up on this group but here it is -
The trouble with us enthusiasts is that we are too prone to fantasise. If ye look at the mad bunch of fellas who are trying to reinstate the entire route of the oul Somerset & Dorset, with blithe talk of demolishing properties and premises built on parts of the formation, there are no greater bunch of fantasists around.
If a properly-constituted company such as Central Railway could fail to gain approval to reinstate much of the former Great Central route, then it doesn't hold out much hope for a small band of individuals. And that's before we get to internal politics and competing personalities.
I think it got my back up because almost immediately it described us - that's me and you - as mad. It also described us as 'fellas' which is odd as many of our members are female!
Blithe talk of demolishing buildings is nothing of the sort. To get our line built a few demolitions will be inevitable, but we've seen this on Croydon Tramlink and the Waverley line, so this is not only already happening but nobody (except the trackbed trespassers) blinks an eye at it!
I'm sure there are greater bunches of fantasists around, from people who think the world is run by giant lizards, people who think the earth is flat or people that think we can reduce the deficit by increasing spending!
At the end of his post the commetator changed tack and said 'I don't expect the line to be fully opened in my lifetime'. Join the club!! That's what being incremental is all about!
At the end of the day there will always be doubters. There will be trolls who just get a kick out of winding people up (remember Compulsory Purchase Boy, the owner of a house on the route who turned out to live in Romsey?), there will be others who don't get Peak Oil, there will be others who fear the return of railways generally. But all they have is opinions, not information, not foresight and certainly not a vision. To all the doubters - in the immortal phrase from 'Oh Mr Porter!' - you're wasting your time!
There IS a 'properly-constituted [sic]' company behind us, it's called Wessex Links Ltd. And how are we any different from the Central Railway, also a 'small band of individuals'? The difference of course is that we're not prepared to sit back and wait for government to catch up with the present, and pay for what we are doing, but getting on with it.
And as for personality clashes and internal politics there's not - and NEVER WILL BE - a trace of that in the New S&D. Most of us have experienced that sort of nonsense first hand and are hardly going to revisit it. We're simply not that sort of organisation.
I've no idea if this character is a troll, though it seems he got his info from some forum, which we know are really just talking shops for the socially maladjusted with no actual background or information in railways, just spouting off opinions!
The New S&D has, from day one, been an INCREMENTAL and LEVERAGED project. We're not expecting government to pay for what we're doing, we're hoping the people ALONG THE ROUTE will be the ones to get it going, and that of course is exactly what's happening. We OWN Midford and we are working closely with DCC to restore Spetisbury. These are just the first small steps, once up and running membership will boom and the two sites will become financially self supporting. We can then look elsewhere for a third site (and we have first refusal on Templecombe signalbox if and when that becomes available), or look to putting track in at some point and getting a Parry People Mover or something similar in. That is incremental. And the more of the S&D that is rebuilt is leverage.