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, May 15, 2013

love at first sight?

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!

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