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, January 23, 2013

interesting ...

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.


GCA said...

My brother has just received notification of a compulsory purchase order for his house in Long Eaton (on the Notts/Derby border, just south of Toton) in order that HS2 can pass through where his house stands! The whole street of many houses must have been notified as it runs parallel to the existing railway.

Sunshiner said...

This is dreadful. HS2 will never happen but it seems it's already blighting the area. We won't need high speed trains in twenty years' time but we will need ordinary trains and trams to our towns and villages, most of which will be rebuilds of Beeching closures. Whilst I've no sympathy at all for anyone who has bought or built a house on a Beeching closure route it's terrible that vanity projects with no obvious future need that won't be able to access the energy to build, maintain and operate them should impact on any innocent person's life.