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, September 26, 2015

Dusky Midsomer Norton 2006

(All 1.7.2006 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

July 1 2006 and I found myself at an eerie and dusky Midsomer Norton South station on the S&D! These shots capture the atmosphere well, and are of course already historic. The signalbox is now fully restored inside and out, and the greenhouse which doesn't even exist here has now been completely rebuilt.

I was spending two or three days a week at the station back in 2006, but rarely got to see it at night!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gartell this weekend

(All pics copyright John Penny)


This Sunday (27 September 2015) is the penultimate day of this season for the Gartell Railway - 21 years of operations!

If you haven't been to this fantastic and recently extended 2 foot gauge line with a distinct S&D feel you really should try and get along! With none of the commercialism and crowds of your typical heritage line it is an absolute joy to visit. And the weather is looking good too!

More info (from Wikipedia)

he Gartell Light Railway is a privately run narrow gauge edutainment railway located at Yenston, south of Templecombe, in SomersetEngland. It operates a 2 ft (610 mmnarrow gauge railway running for 34 mile (1.2 km), partly along the track of the old Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway.The railway has 4 stations - Common Lane, Pinesway Junction, Park Lane and Tower View. The railway is controlled using a comprehensive signalling system operated from two signalboxes - Common lane and Pinesway Junction. Both signalboxes control a mix of semaphore and colour light signals with mechanically operated points. The railway is open to the public on selected dates through the year when it normally operates an intensive 3 train operation with departures from Common Lane station every 20 minutes through the day between 1030 and 1630.


NumberNameBuilderTypeDateWorks numberNotes
1AMANDAGartell Light RailwayBo-BoDH2000Ex Southend Pier Railway, rebuilt on the railway
2ANDREWBaguley-Drewry4wDH19733699Acquired in 2007
5ALISONAlan Keef4wDH199310
6Mr. GNorth Dorset Locomotive Works0-4-2T1998698Newly built for the line, based on the design of W.G. Bagnall locomotive Polar Bear
9JeanAlan White0-4-0T+T2008

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Shillingstone developments

A couple of shots of the new cab sides for the Ruston.

New side entrance roof.

(All copyright 8.9.2015 copyright Shillingstone)

Developments at Shillingstone continue at a fast pace. A few shots from last weekend show the newly fabricated sides for the Ruston diesel and the newly constructed roof covering the side entrance.

This Dorset station on the S&D has seen a huge amount of work over the last few years and provides an interesting contrast to the Somerset based group at Midsomer Norton. This is one of the FIVE current sites being worked on over the line.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Spetisbury 6.9.2015

Our new tea bar, and somewhere to shelter in wet weather.

A brief pause in between all the hard work!

The up platform buildings had become a bit overgrown so the vegetation was trimmed back.

The boss hard at work.

Booking office fireplace.

Ventilation in the up platform building.

The up platform building double fireplace had suffered from the elements, so after removing most of he loose brickwork we covered it up to protect it over the coming winter.

Looking north over the bridge.

View looking north.

(All 6.9.2015 copyright Keith Mitchell)

We had a great day weatherwise up here in Bristol on Sunday, where our road was closed off and a big community event was being held. It's good to see that Spetisbury enjoyed similar weather - the pics above make me really jealous that I don't live closer!

Remember that if you would like to help at Spetisbury you need to be a New S&D member and contact Dean Cockwell, (on deancockwell@ntlworld.com) who is Spetisbury Project Manager.