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!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Sometimes it's difficult even for those of us intimately involved with the reopening of the S&D to REALLY picture what the future holds. And then sometimes something comes along to make it all clearer!

The above picture is one of those things. Painted by Steve Hiscocks, a member down at Shillingstone, it shows a possible future for the station once the line is rebuilt throughout. Ignore the diesel traction, that is unlikely to be seen, at least running under New S&D colours, though this could be a possibility with other train operators running some trains over our route. What I particularly like is the way that the restored Shillingstone fits in so well with the trains, that the heritage aspect doesn't jar and, perhaps more importantly for many of us, the modern trains don't either.

It's poignant as well. Of course the S&D is returning as this scene shows, or something very similar will, all the way down from Bath and Bristol to Poole and Brockenhurst. But why oh why has the area been deprived of this for the last 47 years? The S&D is a main line of huge importance and value, it's closure was laughable, a ridiculous mistake that the whole area has paid for since then. When the window of opportunity arises we will do a very thorough study of the shameful and pointless closure of the line, and the truth will finally be out.

So keep this image in your mind as you do the work up and down the line that will ease its return!

Copies of this picture, as an artist signed print, are available from Shillingstone - orders need to be in by 10th November 2013 to guarantee a signed print. Please send orders to Alan Wiseman, Platform Magazine Dept SHP, Wayside, Plush, DORCHESTER, Dorset, DT2 7RN - please make cheques payable to 'NDRHT', cost is £20 to include post and packing - all profits will be used to further the work at Shillingstone. Prints will be despatched at the end of November.

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