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S&D Chilcompton Station

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by mendipsengineman, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. OldChap

    OldChap New Member

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    Eh? why am I wrong? I said I had not seen that and then I went on to provide (along with some other people) details about it... gawd some people.
     
  2. mendipsengineman

    mendipsengineman New Member

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    I see we have diverged, from chilcompton station, to los angeles and hydrogen fuel cells.

    The purpose of this topic was to generate debate about the S&D, not digress into slagging off people or other websites or predict future government research and transportation.

    The original post came about, due to my support, in principle for steve sainsburys website, and although peak oil is a few years off, the current state of the midsomer norton project is simple. they have become bogged down at midsomer norton due to lack of vision and authenticy and overall business plan. I take a minute to stand back and look into the project through the eyes of both enthusiasts, and joe public. the huge following the S&D had, has not turned into financial or volunteer support for the project like it should have done, given the status of the line. some of us are merely trying to be more proactive in carrying on the (msn)heritage trusts original (1993) remit of fragmented trackbed asset protect and restoration, just like the L&B groups are doing with woody bay/ chelfam/ collard bridge/ bratton fleming etc. the new somerset and dorset lobbying group due to be launched by steve and co on 6th march 2009 will take up the lead in other fragmented trackbed purchase, lease and protection/restoration towards a goal of making future reinstatement easier. the short term goal, will be to "assist" midsomer norton, and start a "second front" on the mendips at chilcompton, with fresh people, as the midsomer norton people have more than enough on their hands with the extension their side of the 2 infills

    I do not want this thread diluted with off topic rambling. we are not disgruntled enthusiasts. we are trying to protect further encroachment and destruction of trackbed because councils and the "wildlife corridor" loving public cannot see the car culture timebomb approaching and without 4 foot 8 and a half inch heavy rail put back everywhere, like they used to be before the sixties, we are going to be up sh1t creek. The continued piecemeal development that councils are allowing the highways dept, homeowners, developers, hauliers and industial premises to keep on doing must must must be stopped
     
  3. Stewie Griffin

    Stewie Griffin New Member

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    :-#
     
  4. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    If you are not disgruntled enthusiasts and are, in fact, just in this as sustainable transport campaigners, do you not think that there are more practical and useful cases for reinstatement than the S&D?
     
  5. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    if we are looking at sustainable transport in the 21st Century then i struggle to see that the solution is to reopen a victorian network of railway lines . Lines were closed in the 1960's for a reason , costly to operate and unremunerative.

    Our preserved lines are successful in capturing a tourist market and run largely by volunteers and dependant on donation to support revenue streams .

    In terms of the MN project a "preserved" recreation of the S&D would be magical but we need a sense of perspective on what is realistic given the lack of stock , locos and the significant engineering obstacles (silver street bridge and chilcompton cutting infill) that await the project . perhaps a little more patience in MN progress and support for a separate body to acquire sections would be a more pragmatic solution
     
  6. mendipsengineman

    mendipsengineman New Member

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    The “new somerset and dorset railway” being launched on march 6th 2009, the 43rd anniversary of closure, will be a lobbying and trackbed acquisition group, whose eventual goal is to reopen all of the S&D and associated somerset and dorset railways. They will fully support and work alongside the midsomer Norton, masbury, gartells and shillingstone projects. The acquisition of chilcompton station from the sheppards sawmills housing developers/Mendip district council will be a very good first start. This will give midsomer Norton a big boost and help to recreate the first 2 mile joined up restored section of S&D.
     
  7. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    "The acquisition of chilcompton station from the sheppards sawmills housing developers/Mendip district council will be a very good first start. This will give midsomer Norton a big boost and help to recreate the first 2 mile joined up restored section of S&D."
    A great idea in theory. Roughly how much will this acquisition cost and how do you propose to finance it? By issuing shares or by other means perhaps? I presume information such as this will be part of the New S&D Launch on 6 March. I cannot dispute the logic of working to purchase parts of the old S&D (with hindsight this should have been done 30 years ago!) as there is no doubt that, as long as someone else owns the line or trackbed, then they ultimately dictate what happens and it might not be for railway use. Far better to own the line you run on I agree. However, given the current economic situation and the fragmentation of what's left of the S&D, the chances regarding reinstatement of any significant part of the S&D look increasingly bleak as each day passes (its not the same as the L&B which requires much less infrastructure being a narrow gauge railway - albeit a serious one!) but I admire your spirit in trying. What's already done at Midsomer Norton is far better than what could have been.
     
  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Maybe in the 1960s some lines weren't worth saving, although the figures used by Beeching and Co. are open to discussion, it does not follow that they wouldn't be worth having now. Some closures were plain daft. Over the years a number of lines have regained their passenger services and in some cases lines are being rebuilt from scratch. Sadly a number of lines which would be useful today have gone forever.
     
  9. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Undoubtedly, several lines were closed in the 1960s that should not have been. It is now generally accepted that closing the Waverley line was a mistake and the Scottish government shows signs of starting to rebuild some of it. In Devon, the possibilty of restoring Tavistock to the network gets discussed now and again. But it is hideously expensive to rebuild a railway, thanks to the silly policy of flogging off trackbed to farmers and housebuilders so that a farmer can buy five metres of trackbed and effectively sterilise a long former railway, and this sort of money can only be found by government. Now that Britain is effectively bankrupt, that money is unlikely to be available.

    Recreational railways, like cycle trails in the countryside, are not 'green' because people drive to reach them. They are still fun, though!

    John
     
  10. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Equally in the 1860's some lines weren't worth building - and with the benefit of hindsight the S&D was probably one of them! (not that it didn't become a fascinating line and worthy of a heritage type partial resurrection!)
     
  11. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Exactly; we wouldn't have the Settle and Carlisle line either if everyone had been sensible in the 19th century. Having survived closure attempts, it has however evolved into a thoroughly useful line that has a function in today's world that goes beyond recreation.

    To me, the Somerset & Dorset line was memorable for its slightly melancholy atmosphere as much as its scenery, and I don't know that such atmosphere could ever be put back. If the National Lottery (with a good rollover) was won five times in succession by enthusiasts who then agreed to use the winnings to reinstate the S&D in its entirety, traffic would have to be developed from scratch; this might be a daunting prospect. While a preserved line from Midsomer Norton to Chilcompton would be attractive as a recreational line, I don't see the future being any more than recreational. Would be only too happy to be proved wrong some time in 2030!

    John
     
  12. mendiprail

    mendiprail New Member

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    Is there anything wrong with putting sh*t? :-k
    It just makes you seem like some teenager who spends too much of their life online. I know it's petty, but it is irritating.

    I don't think the S&D group really have much hope of getting beyond a few miles of track, if they're lucky. There are so many obstacles in their way. There are a number of tunnels and bridges which would require rebuilding/repairing, at a massive cost. Add into that the number of landowners and houses that would have to be removed, it's just not feasible. The Glastonbury Festival site covers the old trackbed on the branch to Wells and I very much doubt Michael Eavis would be happy to have a railway ploughed through the middle of it. It is a shame though, living as close to the line as I do, I'd love to have a full double-track line open again, but you are just in fantasy land if you believe it's possible.

    Even if, somehow, the line was all put back, where is all the revenue needed to maintain it going to come from? In the local area there are already several well established preservation schemes, the East Somerset Railway, Avon Valley Railway, Yeovil Railway Centre and the West Somerset Railway among others. These will already have their own group of supporters and loyal customers. Given the low population density around Somerset, I can't see commuters making a lot of revenue for any prospective line. True, the only public transport around is a sparodic (and expensive) bus service, but you'd still need a lot of stock to have a similarly frequent service, so a community line is also unlikely.

    I think that a couple of mile heritage line would stand a good chance of succeeding, especially as the S&D is so popular among enthusiasts. Perhaps though, Midsomer Norton is the wrong place to start, given the gap over Silver Street on one side and a prospective redevelopment not far the other. Running a line either side of Masbury station, towards Binegar and Shepton Mallet, is probably a much better place to start from, but still not easy. That's not to say I think M-s-N should be abandoned or anything. Perhaps the line would have stood a better chance, had a concentrated preservation effort started back in the 70s or 80s. The usefulness of relatively level, firm ground is too high to be left aside for a preservation scheme which may well fail. Equally, if a redevelopment does happen over the site of Chilcompton station, the S&D people from M-s-N could reasonably ask the council for money towards a new station, not to far from Chilcompton (assuming there is space).

    I would also say that perhaps aquiring another station is not a brilliant idea, unless there are hordes of volunteers waiting in the wings to help look after it. Concentrating the groups effort in one place is a much better idea.

    In summary, get real and think about it with your head looking at the facts, not with your heart looking at the history books.
     
  13. arthur maunsell

    arthur maunsell New Member

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    fair comment
     

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