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Somerset and Dorset Rebuild

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by lynbarn, May 18, 2016.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Don't forget that most of them have their own broomsticks or journey via The Astral Plain
     
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  2. lynbarn

    lynbarn New Member

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    Over the next few weeks things may change either for the good or for worst and no one can predict that, but while it has been mentioned that there are currently no rail connected milk processing depots, I should point out that there is a milk depot in Bridgewater. I admit I don't know exactly where it is, I did try Google Maps but nothing hit me between the eyes.

    What I am saying is that transporting milk may not be a primary source of traffic for a new railway, but it could be includes in the long term, As I understand it we can currently only produce 70% of our milk use due to EU rules, now we also know that there is a surplus of milk on the world stage and there is to much produced, if people think the farmers in the UK are not getting enough, then think about those in northern Africa they get about a quarter of what our farmers get, to a certain extent the EU has made the farmers in North Africa worst off than before it was formed, by closing the markets to North African milk production.

    I know its not ideal and I also know that by itself, it is not going to bring the S&DR back to life. But my point has always been to see if a business case can be assembled for the reopening of part of the S&DR.

    A comment about this project was made about who would pay for the railway between weekends? Well to start with if it was just based on the tourist industry then no one as it would not be open, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the first place if there was not a regular traffic flow, my point would be that many heritage railways in the first few years did not run outside of the weekends, but as I have said before until some one produces a fact based report on the rebuilding of the S&DR we can argue the point until we are all blue in the face.
     
  3. Checkflaps

    Checkflaps New Member

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    Robert Wiseman Dairy - J24 M5, Huntworth.
    Take the A38 South towards North Petherton, 1/4 mile, turn left at the traffic lights.
    Very good road connections, not so good for rail - especially when the river Parrett is between the dairy and the GWML.
     
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  4. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    The Wisemans/Müller dairy is one of those places that you can't miss when driving down the M5 - from the road it looks enormous. I doubt it's straightforward to reach by rail.

    A lot of the arguing seems to go back and forth between different and contradictory points though. Someone says that a Cole to Highbridge rebuild would be a useful regular rail route to Glastonbury. Ah, but what would pay for it? Festivals and events. Ah, but festivals and events are only a few days a year - 20-25% of the days of the year if you're being generous. Well it would be a heritage line and only run four days per week, says someone else - and the original justification evaporates, and the argument goes around in a circle once more (a bit like a train on this 70mph Wells Loop, I suppose) with other objections disappearing into the Somerset mists.

    I know there is one very successful music festival based on a preserved railway, but it is hardly a mainstay of that railway's operations. And as we all know, many many preserved railways offered regular commuter services as part of their original plan, and so far none have been able to deliver that anywhere close to the 364 days per year that commuting services require.
     
  5. steve45110

    steve45110 New Member

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    A strange assumption that none of the locals would use the line at all ever, out of spite presumably. The circular service to Bristol and Bath, and other towns on that route would attract them just as locals have now been attracted to Edinburgh by train. The mostly unmodernised roads in Somerset like the A37/A39/A361 plus trying to park in Bristol or Bath, would put anyone off. The level crossings are a problem. The minor ones on the Levels could in some cases be closed, as NR are doing wherever they can. The A371 at Evercreech would need to be bridged, which is obviously a major consideration. The A361, A37 and A39 had bridges which were demolished unfortunately. Of course the A39 bypass using the rail route around Glasto is the biggest problem but, not insurmountable, if the will to do it is there, which it isn't.
     
  6. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Two thoughts. Firstly milk. There may well be scope for milk traffic on a reopened S&D, but why would the dairies bother? They pulled out of using railways 40 odd years ago; what has changed that would make them to back? Answer that before you try to answer whether it would help a revived S&D.

    Second, the comparison with the Borders Railway. The people of the Borders fought closure of the Waverley Route vigorously, and the area remained inaccessible. Reopening was - just - viable for part of the route, serving a combination of Edinburgh suburban traffic, a couple of villages, one respectably large town and a park and ride for a large area. With respect, north and east Somerset are better served and with lower populations. With no idea of the practical feasibility, I'd have thought the GWR branches would offer more potential than the S&D for that kind of offering.

    Much as I'd like to live the dream, the S&D died for a reason, and there is little real prospect of making it work. If there are any prospects, they need to be driven by the needs of the places served, not a long dead and economically unviable railway.

    Sometimes, it's better to let something rest in peace.
     
  7. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    There are two arguments going on here:

    a) Would locals use it - yes, absolutely!
    b) Is there enough demand to re-open the line - no, absolutely not!

    Is the same argument that's been re-hashed since the 60s. Undoubtedly if it still existed it would be used, but that demand simply isn't enough to re-open it now.
     
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  8. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    Just something else to throw into the melting pot - who's going to pay for the new milk tankers? The dairy won't because they've already paid for their road tankers and NR/TOC won't because it's not financially justifiable.


    Keith
     
  9. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    It seems to me that milk by rail is not an option. The Kensington milk trains from the West Country were well know some years ago and it was always interesting to see the movements of the tank cars at Totnes, Devon.
    However that all ceased years ago and the loading siding is now used for car hire. The dairy was adjacent to Totnes station but it still was not continued. The shell of the dairy and chimney are still there and after many years is to be put to another use - when money is available of course.
    As with all 'wouldn't it be nice' schemes it presupposes a supply of volunteers who are prepared to work for nothing and train buffs footing most of the major bills.
     
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  10. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    I thought I'd just see what all of these events at the Bath and West Showground are, never having heard of the place (I'm not local, not even close). They seem to be mainly collectors fairs, flea markets and classic car/bike events - all the sort of things best attended by road, really.

    Milk traffic? Are you serious?
     
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  11. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    This comes back to the discussion about what type of rebuild people are actually advocating. A main line reinstatement like the Borders Railway? Yes, some local people will use it for local travel, maybe even some for commuting (although I doubt anyone would go from Glastonbury to Bath via either Cole or Highbridge unless they had plenty of time to spare) - but it would be very expensive to build, in an area that currently has much better road and rail connections than Galashiels.

    Or are you advocating a heritage line with through trains for show events and/or the Glastonbury Festival? In which case it would potentially be cheaper to build and run - but it wouldn't be usable as an everyday local transport option, and would still cost an eye-watering amount of money compared to your average heritage railway rebuild.

    (On the subject of journey times and the original S&D - I am sure I recall reading that one of the reasons it was popular with photographers was that in the 50s, it was fairly easy to drive between locations along the line faster than any of the train services, so you could get several shots of the same train in one day.)
     
  12. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    No, but maybe you didn't see the milk references in earlier posts?
     
  13. steve45110

    steve45110 New Member

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    It wouldn't need to be a main line, as it never was except historically, before the Bath Extension was built. It would be part of a through route. Single track chord off the GWR at Cole. Double track, as was, to Evercreech, stabling sidings there for excursions. Single track to Highbridge, with loops, wherever they were before. Extra loop at Festival station, with 2 platforms. Pylle would be the B&W station. Possible school traffic. I have no idea where the schools are around there but, a study would establish that.

    If rebuilding part of the Waverley route was mentioned 10 or more years ago, it would have met with the same 'can't do' response but, it has happened and Hawick is a serious possibility now. The rest of it, not so much but, I'm not advocating re-opening all the S&D either, just a few miles as part of a bigger route, incorporating the existing lines at each end.
    Hawick station is covered by a leisure centre. The A7 had to be moved in one or two places to make room for the line. An Asda covers Galashiels station and the line was squeezed in between it and the cutting side. The cost wasn't used as a reason for not doing it. They had the will and they did it.
    Okehampton to Bere Alston is now under serious consideration in a study for which consultation ended yesterday, May 27. I made my - positive- contribution. Tavistock North station is intact, as a house but, has buildings partly over the trackbed nearby, ironically, Council offices. They will have to be moved. If the right decision is made, they will be.
     
  14. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    To emulate the Waverley line, first Somerset will need there own devolved government.
     
  15. steve45110

    steve45110 New Member

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    They have a better attitude up there but, if Okehampton comes to pass then, others may follow.......
     
  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    For what reason, other than "wouldn't it be nice"? Rural public transport has enough difficulty in obtaining sufficient subsidy to keep going yet alone indulging in gricers' fantasies. The operative word is "subsidy" which has to be provided from non-gricer sources.

    PH
     
  17. Checkflaps

    Checkflaps New Member

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    Schools : Well, there are a couple of 'posh' schools in Bruton who have boarders and day students. It's a market, but probably not a significant one.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. steve45110

    steve45110 New Member

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    'For what reason, other than "wouldn't it be nice"?' The Waverley and other re-openings, negate comments like that.
     
  19. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    I am sorry but they don't. Where politicians are involved there are all sorts of motivations other than actual need. It's plain bad use of resources at a time when rural public transport is dying for lack of revenue support and commuter rail services require enormous investment to cope with need.

    The Waverley route arose from the wish of the N.B.R. to play with the big boys on the Anglo-Scottish routes. The S.& D.J.R. was a sickly child bought out by the M.R. and L.& S.W.R. to keep the G.W.R. at bay. Their time is long gone. Only "wouldn't be nice" is left.

    P.H.
     
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  20. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Might it be more interesting to look at schemes that might offer both a reasonable return & the chance of happening?

    In recent years we have seen the Waverley Route reopened and The Portishead branch is on the way, but what other realistic options are around?
     
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