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!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Developments!



(Spetisbury 23.4.2010 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

The recent meeting of the New S&D has produiced some very interesting developments at the New S&D. The Spetisbury team have decided that they no longer need the backup of the New S&D for costs and publicity and have formed a separate group to develop the station. This is wonderful news as it means that money is freed up for developments at Midford and (hopefully soon!) at least one other location on the S&D. The Spetisbury Team can get on with rebuilding their site ready for the trains when they return - and we can focus on other things.

It's been suggested (by myself and others) that Midford should follow a similar route, with a new group being set up with its own memberships, sales etc with the focus PURELY on the site at Midford, which of course would be made available for them at no cost by the New S&D and Wessex Links Ltd. Entirely up to the members of course, and perhaps it will be covered in our February/March 2016 meeting in Bristol (details to follow). Thoughts on this welcome in the comments section of course! 

This would leave the New S&D to focus and concentrate on media, publicity and lobbying. Interestingly this process is already underway, I've just come off the phone with Steam Railway and the BBC also want to include the S&D in a major programme they are running covering the reinstatement of railways in southern England. I'm preparing press releases and pushing the line through the Rail Thing group and the website (as well as this blog) - expect to hear a LOT more about the S&D rebuilding over the coming year!

The other component is Wessex Links Ltd, which was the company set up when we took the Midford site on. At the moment myself and Anna-Jayne Metcalfe are the sole directors (Dean Cockwell having left to concentrate ion Spetisbury) - so if any of you want to take on this far from onerous role please email me at leysiner@aol.com

This meeting must have been the most productive ever for the S&D, or at least the new S&D! There's a buzz around here that perhaps had become a little lost over the (entirely expected) grind of the last few years as we threw all our efforts into building a presence at Midford and Spetisbury.

These changes will be reflected on the website, around the Internet and elsewhere over the next month or two - members will of course be free to decide which of the various groups to continue with. The New S&D will of course honour the life memberships - and hopefully gain a lot more in the coming months as we turn our big guns on the wider world out there!

(Fun work at Midford 8.2.2012 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

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