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!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Two Day Work Party and Barbecue at Midford


(Both pics copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

There will be a two day work party and barbecue up at Midford on Sunday 9 October 2016 and Monday 10 October 2016. ALL New S&D members are invited to attend, non members are welcome to join in advance. 

Work parties will begin each day at around 10 am. If you need more info please email me at leysiner@aol.com. Steel toe-capped boots are recommended and please bring your own tools - hedge trimmers, clippers, shears etc, also a wheelbarrow if you have one!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bigger and Bigger ...


(All pics 18.9.2016 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)



It was the last of four days over the last two weekend when the SDRHT at Midsomer Norton had the 4MT tank loco on site. It was running from 10.30am this morning puling two coaches in BR (LMR) maroon towards Chilcompton.

I got there just after eleven and got some nice shots of the train as it left Midsomer Norton up the 1 in 53 grade towards Bournemouth. The station and train were packed of course!

The locomotive, hired from the Llangollen steam railway, is ex BR number 80072, and has run in the guise of both 80041 and 80043 over the two weekends, commemorating the locos with those numbers which double-headed the last northbound train (in BR days) to Bath on 6.3.1966.

The costs of hiring in the loco were part sponsored by Midsomer Norton Town Council, who are becoming increasingly aware of the huge value this unique asset has for the town.

Planning permission has been granted to complete phase one of the line up to the infill near Chilcompton and the money raised from these two weekends will go a long way towards laying the track on and completing this section. After then the new challenges of returning to Radstock and heading south through the tunnels to Shepton Mallet and beyond will start to take over.

The next step will be a tender engine and eventually a 9F will return to the line. Just imagine that with 12 coaches on! It'll be a good few years yet but the line has come on enormously since my first visit in about 2003 when just two track panels were laid, the line was blocked and there were just a few freight wagons on site.

Make no mistake, the S&D is back!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's Really Happening!!


(All 11.9.2016 source)

Wonderful stuff continues to happen up and down the S&D - but I suspect the arrival of a big engine at Midsomer Norton has to be the best thing yet (since 1966 anyway!) They are now just one step away from a tender engine ... and only a few more to a 9F!