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, October 31, 2015

Masbury - another S&D station that is returning!


Masbury - and its new owner (radio interview)

It was a shame, not to mention a shock, when the appeal to purchase the Masbury station site did not reach its target a couple of years ago.

Of course we all know that EVENTUALLY trains will return to Masbury, but we were always aware that, even with the site in railway hands, that was going to be more of a multi-decade process than something that would happen within a few years. Personally it means I'm not getting down there once a week as project manager - but I've got lenty more to do anyway!

But the really good news is that the new order has plans to restore the station to its pre-closure condition, rebuilding the signalbox (like at Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone) and reinstating the booking office etc.

NOTHING is going to keep the S&D down - the line is on its way back and more and more people are geeting involved. This blog will follow progress at Masbury with great interest over the coming years!

Please remember that Masbury is private property and a family home. Please do not trespass under any circumstances. Just let it happen!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Behind the scenes - fun AND hard work!

(All courtesy John Penny at Gartell)

Some fantastric shots from John Penny showing the singular mix of fun and hard work that goes into keeping an iconic narrow gauge railway going!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gartell's last regular operating days of 2015


John Gartell returns from the morning engine warm-through and line inspection in the beautiful but chilly October morn.

Heading up the hill in bright sunshine, No. 6 makes easy work of the 1 in 30 and 1 in 35 gradients as it rounds the curve and goes under the main-line bridge heading toward Pinesway Junction.

Fireman Mike Baker, proceeds to the front of No.6 with the coupling bar, prior to the run-round at Pinesway Junction.

No.6 passes points 11 at Pinesway Junction. The points will shortly change and the locomotive will proceed in an up direction, after it runs round its train.

The beautiful if chilly October morning is evident as the run-round takes place at Tower View.

Happy visitors at Tower View. The loco is running round prior to our non-stop run to Park Lane.

Simultaneous departures at Pinesway Junction.

Steve Rodd and Alan 'Chalkey' White crew GLR No.9 'Jean' as it runs through Pinesway Junction on the non-stop run to Park Lane with the latter-day 'Pines Express'.

Another spirited departure from Common Lane.

'Right Away' at Common Lane for the 'Pines'!

Steam and Diesel with a simultaneous departure from Pinesway Junction.

John 'Bert' Penny contemplates the next move at Common Lane 'box. (Photo by Dave Clark)

(All pics and text by or courtesy of John Penny at the Gartell Railway).

The last open day of 2015 also brings to an end the 25th season at the GLR. With a plethora of willing staff, John was able to spend a little time behind the lens, just helping out with a couple sessions at Common Lane Box. I hope you like his selection of photos - and see you next year!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shillingstone 25.10.2015


The wall is on the level and the repairs continue apace. Although John is tall even he will need a ladder or scaffold for the wall behind the shelter!

 The greenhouse in the background has had a good clear-out today and it looks like Rose approves.

You can't have too many token machines especially when offered one that originated on the station and came with original tokens for the whole line.

(Pics, text and captions via The Porter, Shillingstone station).

After a cold and wet Saturday where most volunteers volunteered to stay away, along with the public, although our new volunteers proved their mettle and set to on the café, shop, gardens and Ruston, today was manic. Brent Shore turned up at the station to sign/sell his book and they turned out in their thousands - probably to do with The Stickler run over the ten miles and three hills finishing at the station! With 5 volunteers in the café and 2 in the shop we still had difficulty keeping up! With all these volunteers tied up we still managed to have a gardening team and a large team on THE WALL! It is moving south....in a good way and a small group in the Signal Box.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Shillingstone into Autumn

(Both via Facebook/SRP October 2015)

A couple of great shots from the weekend!

Wednesday saw our new volunteer gardeners following Beryl's orders and planting the 50 plus foxgloves she left them as well as preparing the gardens for winter.....and they send in photos to keep us updated. Well done and Thanks. (The Porter). (Text via Facebook)

This clearly shows how heritage and community railway projects enhance rather than ruin the railway infrastructure. All communities should adopt their railway stations like this, whether they be Network, community, heritage or even closed! Rail travellers need to feel they are in a safe and attractive place, not feel threatened on a windswept and empty platform with just a bus shelter amd a couple ofm hoodies for company ...