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, March 05, 2016


47406 leaves Midsomer Norton 5.3.2016 (Somerset and Dorset Railway Facebook Group)

50 years Jinty at Midsomer Norton South 5.3.2016 (Dean Howe)

Milk train on the Gartell Railway 5.3.2016 (Chandler James Thick via Gartell Railway Facebook)

It's fantastic to see that what could have been a miserable date has been completely turned on its head and turned into a celebration of everything S&D. What a fantastic line it is!

This is just a tiny taster of what's been happening at 2 of the 5 sites!

So we're marking 50 years since possibly the worst ever decision by a government was implemented, to tear up a valuable main line railway linking Britain's only World Heritage City to its premier seaside resort, through some of the finest countryside in England. What were they thinking?

What I'm thinking is that ALL S&D enthusiasts should now COMMIT themselves to doing everything they can to get the WHOLE line up and running within the next 50 years. That's a proper working railway offering freight and passenger trains using heritage style vehicles and locos in many cases and running through stations that are copies of those that were originally there - ie proper buildings with facilities and staff, not a basic railway. Let's building a railway that people will need AND want, a community asset that we'll all be proud of.

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