Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Railfuture is offering reduced price admission @ £15 if booking by post (or £16 if booking online) to its Summer Conference on Saturday 22 June at the Albemarle Centre, Albemarle Road, Taunton, about five minutes' walk from the railway station. These prices include a buffet lunch. The discount is aimed at the membership of organisations speaking at the Conference. The speakers themselves get free admission ! I understand that Philip is advising Tarka Rail Association of this offer.
The Conference opens at 11 am and closes at 4.30 pm. There are nine speakers as follows:
John Dora (John Dora Consulting Ltd) talking about Railways, Weather and Climate Change.
John Burch (Tarka Rail Association) "The Problem that is Cowley Bridge Junction."
Bernard Lane (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways). "Campaigning for an Effective City Rail Network."
Steve Smith (Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group) on the need to retain Bedwyn's direct service to Reading and London after electrification.
John Chapman (Kilbride Community Rail) on reopening to Tavistock.
Alan Matthews (Portishead Railway Group) on the challenges in the campaign to reopen the Portishead line.
Dean Cockwell (New Somerset & Dorset Railway) on the long term ambition to reopen a main line.
Chris Fribbins and Chris Page (Railfuture Directors) summarising the Conference.
To book by post @ £15, send a cheque payable to Railfuture, to
Taunton 2013 Conference, Railfuture, 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND.
To book online @ £16 via Paypal, go to
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Hardly! My first ever visit to Midford (indeed the S&D) was on 24 May 1980, and the site was a mess. Overgrown and neglected it would have been a brave person indeed who would have forecast that it would ever be a station again, let alone a station on a rebuilt S&D. But we've come a long long way since and the station is now almost ready for rebuilding. Of course further along the S&D Midsomer Norton is now a superb restoration and a real credit to the entire heritage movement. Further south Masbury awaits the revivalists (after the small matter of raising the money has been achieved!), next is the Gartell Railway which operates a superb 2 foot gauge with an S&D flavour just south of Templecombe, well into Dorset Shillingstone has been restored and track laid and a bit further south Spetisbury has received the attention of a sizeable group of local revivalists. The S&D has indeed come a very long way since that day back in 1980!
At the time I lived in Sussex and my main interests were Swiss electric railways and music. My interests haven't changed much but you'd have to add the S&D to that list!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
There have been a few lines that have inspired the S&D, and I suspect one of the most surprising ones is the Lynton and Barnstaple. In fact there's a pretty strong case that the closure of the L&B inspired the WHOLE heritage railway movement. The picture above is of Woody Bay in 1980, a station perched on top of Exmoor and converted to an attractive house. There was at the time a small preservation group, but they hadn't made a lot of progress and the 'it'll never happen' lot were having a field day mocking them.
But persistence paid off and they now have fully restored a section of the line at Woody Bay. But more to the point, through their Exmoor Associates company, they own good stretches of the route distant from Woody Bay, including Chelfham viaduct and station. They are in for the long haul and have been persistent and patient from the start. They want nothing less than a full restoration of this most important route, and have even planned an extension at Lynton to meet the funicular down to Lynmouth.
I'll be visiting the line next month and I'm really looking forward to it! Oh yes, the shot below is of the line as it is now!
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
I'm waiting with baited breath here for the final details of the next big S&D development - the purchase of MASBURY station!
I can't say too much (but all will be revealed in just a few days) but at least two of the existing S&D groups (including the New S&D of course) will be announcing an appeal to purchase Masbury.
Full details to follow by the weekend at the latest!
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Congratulations to the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust who have just gained their THOUSANDTH member!! When I joined in around 2004 I was member 250 and remember a trackless station, a maudlin sign announcing that Midsomer Norton would be a 'steam museum with a short demonstration line' and I got a bottle of cheap Asti as a reward for my being their quarter of a thousandth member!
Just look at the place now!
In the four years since the New S&D started we have just welcomed out 175th member - how long before the New S&D also has one thousand??