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!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

masbury earache!

Oh dear, just endured a forty minute earbashing by the people that own a property next to Masbury. Despite an earlier phone call about a month ago where I thought I'd allayed their fears it was not to be!

The latest communication was thanks to some TV and radio publicity for the appeal. The callers seemed to think that we shouldn't be publicising this appeal, and they also picked up on some of the spin about when trains will actually be running at Masbury.

Don't get me wrong, I understand their fears of the place buzzing with people and the whiff of steam, I can understand the non-rail fan mindset. Except this rather benign image wasn't the one they had in their head. I used psychology and asked them what THEY thought would happen from 1 October if we get the site. 'Well you'll be running trains almost right away, and it will scare the horses and our house price will plummet'.

Let's analyse that. Even the most optimistic person (not me) doesn't expect trains of any sort to be running here for 4 years at least. Real through trains carrying freight and passengers are decades away yet. The first few years at Masbury will be gentle restoration.

Horses? Well any sensible horse will go to the other end of the field, and will soon get used to the occasional train.

House prices? ALWAYS go UP, and go up more the closer they are to a station, even a heritage station. Utility you see. The really interesting thing (and perhaps they shouldn't have told me!) was that they had an INSURANCE to cover any shortfall 'IF THE RAILWAY IS REOPENED'. They were more far sighted than most of us!!

They even dared to compare Masbury, that idyll of railway perfection on the finest line in England, to a SEWAGE FARM opening on your doorstep!

Their fears are not real. They will USE the railway when it's reopened, we all will as there won't be any other realistic option. Their house price will shoot up as the railway returns. And their horses will soon learn that trains are fun and will chase them the length of their field.

The world simply is not as many people see it - it is far nicer than that.

All that 40 minutes of nonsense did was to make me even more determined to GET THE STATION BACK!


Eddystone said...

This was bound to happen-it even happened in 1835. Cows were going to stop milking and people's hearts would stop if the trains went faster than 30mph!

What we have to concern ourselves with is the government's obsession with mass building. It would appear that localism is being eroded to the point that councils can carry out central governments bidding with absolutely no impedance from local opinion or desire. This is now the case since last week the House of Lords removed the right to referendum on local issues. Ironically they are still allowed in the area of 'planning' but if a local authority considers them to be too expensive(which of course they will)they have a get out clause. It seems that localism after all was a con to get votes. We in railway regeneration have now to be particularly vigilant that planning consents are not issued confetti like all over the UK on the valuable transport corridors which make up our closed railway system. 'Perchance it Sleepeth' is set to become not just a sentimental inspiration -but a battle cry.

Sunshiner said...

It just annoys me that some people actually believe what they read in the press!! The press's job now seems to be to entertain rather than inform. By running sensationalist stories with only the tiniest link to reality they also manage to upset some people when they really have nothing to worry about. The people at Masbury are convinced that from 1st October we will be running trains at Masbury, and that I am lying to them when I tell them otherwise! The reality of restoration, track laying, loco acquisition, permissions etc is irrelevant to them, because they've read otherwise in the papers! My point that there's no point in worrying until we've got the station also seemed to carry no weight, as did my assertion that property values RISE the closer a property is to a railway station. The problem is people would rather take the easy option of believing rubbish in the papers rather than have to find out information for themselves. So we get loaded with a heap of nonsense - none of which is in any way relevant until 1st October anyway. These people actually said they'd prefer a housing estate to the railway. There are some VERY strange people out there!!

alan alan hay day hayday said...

Hi, Steve. Sainsbury,

This. Type. Of. Opposition. Is. Only. To. Be. Expected.......it. is. Human. Nature. To. Be. Fearful. Of. Change. Look. At. The. Fuss. Hs2. Is. Causing!

Its. Amazing. How. Quickly. People. Accept. Things. Once. They. Become
Reality. Its. The. Idea. Which. Frightens. Them. Not. The. Reality.

Good. Luck.

Alan. Hayday

sebastian said...

Hi Steve Sainsbury

I just read your blog regarding Masbury Re-opening, how silly are those people who think that as if by magic on the 1/10/2013 trains will Re-appear, Oh that it were that simple. I wish you all luck with this new endeavour, which with the passion the New S&D members have will soon be a reality.

Sunshiner said...

I'm convinced 95% (or even more) of the population seem to live in a world of pure myth and magic, free from the laws of physics or economics, oblivious to all the realities around them, and their opinions are formed by tabloid papers, celebrity rubbish on TV and a virulent form of egotism. The Masbury nonsense is a splendid example of this, and they have made real fools of themselves. They even called John Baxter, chair of the SDRHT, a 'geek'!! John has dedicated about 30 years of his life to the S&D, until recently he had a very high up job, he is the least geeklike person in the UK, yet these two odd women had the cheek to call him that in response to a very polite and informative email he'd sent them. I despair or people sometimes!