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!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

midweek at midford

Cleared platform.

Looking towards Long Arch Bridge.

Classic fencing starts to reappear - and makes the narrow road safer.

Midford main mover Stuart Seale chats to New S&D Press and Publicity Officer Kevin Gover.
Had a nice (and rare) trip to Midford on Wednesday to meet with our new Press and Publicity Officer Kevin Gover and get a chance to catch up with progress on the site.
Stuart kindly showed Kevin around the site and I did some radio stuff for the Masbury Appeal.
Interestingly Kevin walked from Freshford to Midford and I may well try to reach Midford by train and foot in future, rather than use the slow and rather ridiculous car. It's about a two mile walk in each direction.
Television is also taking an interest in developments at Masbury so expect to have it rammed down your throats (in the nicest possible way!) over the summer months!  
Midford is looking great and the litter problems we suffered from anti-social visitors after the Two Tunnels route opened seem to have calmed down somewhat. New fencing has appeared along the top of Long Arch Bridge, together with some new safety bollards, much improving this part of the site.
Remember if you would like to help in restoring Midford to its former glory please contact me via leysiner@aol.com and I will put you in touch with Stuart.


RailWest said...

I'm rather bemused by the picture captioned "cleared platform", given the amount of fresh weeds and overgrowth which are clearly visible.

I walked thru' the station two weeks and was very surprised by the extent to which 'nature' appeared to be taking back all the area which was cleared so well earlier in the year. I realise that it is not an easy task to "keep on top of", but the initial impression was that it had been 'let go', which seemed such a shame.

I assume that it is probably outside your area of ownership/control, but the area of path on the viaduct itself was particullarky bad. Much vegitation running wild along the side and the fencing on the parapets was broken in several places and looking extremely tatty.

Sunshiner said...

You should have seen the site before we took it over - platform is very clear compared to early days, it was covered in piles of mud, trees growing up, grass and weeds everywhere. What we've done is get it back down to bare concrete. This is the worst time of year for weed and plant growth and it's almost impossible for the small team to keep up with it working every second Sunday. It gets easier after August. I must dig out some early pics when we started clearing the site. As for the viaduct this is nothing to do with us but it does underline that this is the time of year when the weeds really take hold!

RailWest said...

I agree that it is much better than it was. The initial clearance was a vast improvement and all credit to those involved. It is simply the case that, as time goes on, I had expected to see further improvements on each visit, so I was surprised to find that it seemed to have 'gone backwards' this month.

Are there any plans to install any information boards about the railway (both 'old' and 'new') at the station any time soon? With the increasing amount of foot and cyle traffic passing by, it seems a shame that there is nothing to tell them what it is that they can now see.

Sunshiner said...

Unfortunately all information we put up vanishes usually within 24 hours. Whether this is radical cyclists or retarded teenagers I don't know! A recent sign has stayed up for longer. I think we need a permanent vandal-proof sign to give information but I suspect it will be pretty expemsive!

The biggest issue with Midford is that the normal team is just two people. We're not quite bsure why this is (Spetisbury averages 6-8) but it has been suggested that the two previous restoration attempts have rather queered our pitch (though we have NO connection with either of them) or it may simply be that railway-minded people in the area find that the Avon Valley or Midsomer Norton set-ups offer far more opportunities.

Sunshiner said...

If you are making regular visits to the station why not join one of the working parties each month?