Volunteers at work clearing years of overgrowth at Midford station in 2010.
The challenge of rebuilding the S&D is a huge one so it is important to get involved if you can! There are several different groups currently restoring parts of the S&D, although they share members in common and work closely together, all with a shared aim. Whatever your skills and interests there should be more than enough for you to do! Many members of these groups are not railway enthusiasts but local people who enjoy creating assets for their local communities. There's a very strong S&D community that embraces all ages and come from all over the world.
The New S&D are actively involved in lobbying, creating a new overall organisation for the whole line and looking at realistic ways of bringing back regular trains to the route. We have recently acquired the Midford station site with the initial aim of rebuilding the station to serve as an information office, shop and refreshment facility. It will also serve as new S&D headquarters. Once we assess that the Midsomer Norton to Bath section is viable as a community and heritage railway Midford will once again serve as a real station, but in the meantime track will not be laid on the cycleway. We have also started work at Spetisbury, hoping to establish that station as a base for the southern section of the route.
In many ways this is the most important part of the great S&D revival as we have the vision to rebuild the whole route. We need administrators, journalists, accountants, fundraisers, solicitors, planners and networkers to help set up this important organisation. We also need people with practical skills to actually rebuild stations, signal-boxes etc along the route. We need people with skills in retail and marketing, with connections to the tourist industry and rail insiders. We need gifted communicators, writers, computer professionals, photographers, historians as well as those with rail industry skills at all levels. As the line extends we want to encourage steam locomotive owners to base and run their machines on our route, in between the regular service trains, so we also need members with a keen interest in steam traction.
If you are more hands on and want to get involved right away with the job of rebuilding the line there are groups at Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone who are actively rebuilding the line, primarily as heritage railways for the time being.
If you are mainly interested in the historical aspects of the S&D then the Washford group have a superb collection of S&D rolling stock, artefacts, ephemera, books etc as well as 7F locomotive number 88, which regularly works on the adjacent West Somerset Railway.
There is in addition a very S&D-flavoured narrow gauge (two foot) private railway near Templecombe, the Gartell Light Railway, which operates around 15 times a year running steam and diesel trains. Part of the line runs on the S&D track-bed and is being extended further towards Templecombe.
If even narrower gauge is your flavour then the Bath and West Railway at the Bath and West Showground is great fun. It is less than a mile from S&D trackbed.
At Bath the Two Tunnels Group is building a cycle route through the tunnels south of Bath, preserving more of our route. There is also a group that intends to preserve the Blandford Arches, an S&D bridge just to the south of Blandford.
Basic membership is just £5 per year. This entitles you to participate in all New S&D activities, receive regular news and info (by email and/or post), vote at meetings, receive 10% reduction on sales items and, if you wish, contribute directly to the blog.
Junior membership is now available at just £2.50 per year. Junior members have all the benefits of full members except voting rights. To join click below (or send cheque/PO to address below)
- Printable Membership Form (.pdf)
Wanted: Volunteers to restore Midford and Spetisbury stations. Work parties generally operate on Sundays, when weather permits. Check the blog or email email@example.com first! For insurance purposes, you need to be a New S&D member (you can sign up on the day).