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!

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Baby for Gartell

(Pic and text courtesy John Penny)

EXCLUSIVE! The newest steam locomotive in the country - possibly even the newest in the world - is scheduled to appear at the Gartell Light Railway next Monday 29th August, 2016. Subject to final inspections and running trials* the locomotive - as yet un-numbered and un-named - has been constructed over the last 17 years by John Uphill. Similar in design to the GLR's first steam loco (No. 6 'Mr. G' of 1998) and again an 0-4-2, the loco has been designed to spend much of its time with the GLR, increasing its traction numbers to three steam and three diesel. (*Please note: Loco is subject to availability)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Midford update


(All pics 18.8.2016 Copyright Peter Sandell)

Peter Sandell has been making regular trips up to Midford station to help with the site clearance, and he's sent in these pics, all taken on 18 August 2016, of some of the progress at the site. This has built on the work done by the work party we had earlier in the month when the south end of the platform was cleared of vegetation. The station is beginning to emerge again from its lush summer coat - and we are now moving swiftly to the easier (if colder) time of year when clearance becomes much easier as almost everything has stopped growing!

Remember that as a New S&D member you are perfectly able to go up to the site and do some work on the platform and alongside the trackbed, though work on the steeper bank is best left to when we have an official work party with first aider and the right equipment.

If you do go to the site to work please let us know and also if possible send a brief summary of the work done together with pictures!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Very special September!!


MIDSOMER NORTON: The Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust is pleased to announce that we will be hosting their third Ex-British Railways Steam Locomotive for two weekends: 10th & 11th/ 17th & 18th of September. Courtesy of the Llangollen Railway, BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4T No.80072 will be hauling passenger trains, and recreating scenes from the swansong years of the S&D. 

Prices are £5 per trip (no concessions) with children under 5 travelling free.

Please come and join them and travel behind the largest steam locomotive to grace Somerset and Dorset metals since 1966!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Midford - we're back!


(All pics 3.8.2016 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Well, it's official. Midford work parties have started again, and yesterday saw 5 of us cutting back undergrowth plus some smaller regrowth trees at the station and further along near the Long Arch bridge.

We made a good deal of progress, despite a 2 hour pub break!

What really stood out was the amount of cycle and pedestrian traffic on the path through the site - a huge increase from a few years ago before the Two Tunnels route was opened. It suggests an excellent future for the site, even before the trains return!

After the pub we took a look at the cutting and decided on a weekend (or perhaps Sunday/Monday) big clear out in October, together with a barbecue, Final date to be set, but please keep it in mind. All members are welcome to come along and help! Further news as I get it.