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, March 06, 2014


It's that time of year again! It's now 48 years to the day since the S&D closed (and 5 years to the day since the New S&D was formed).

If only ...

But I tend to look forwards rather than backwards. Speculation on what the S&D would be like now if it had been rationalised and dieselised (clue, look at the Castle Cary to Dorchester route) or even purchased entirely for £50,000 (if that rumour is true) are a waste of time and energy.

Back in the real world we have what we have, and that's a lot. Five points on the line being restored. The classic iconic station of Midsomer Norton South fully restored with the signalbox and greenhouse recreated and over half a mile of DOUBLE TRACK running line in place. Shillingstone going great guns and not far behind Midsomer Norton despite a late start, the very special Gartell Railway extending northwards and offering a fantastic experience for young and old, Midford arising from the ashes (and the Midford Appeal being launched TODAY!) and Spetisbury also being cleared with rebuilding of the station not too far off. Not to mention Masbury still teasing s along the way ...

And all against a background of increasing climate change effects (some of the worst not too far from our branch to Burnham), energy issues becoming harsher each day and elsewhere in the UK closed lines coming back from the dead as more and more people realise rail is the future.

In 5, 10, 20 years' time who knows how much bigger and busier the S&D will be? As always if you are an S&D fan please get involved in some way or another with the rebirth of this fabulous line. either by joining the New S&D, the heritage groups at Midsomer Norton and/or Shillingstone, volunteering for the Gartell or joining Railfuture or one of the other transport campaigning groups. There's no longer any excuse not to! 

1 comment:

Ancient One said...

You can take a look on Rail Simulator who have the Templecombe to Bath section on the game, its actually quite good for what is quite an old game :)