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Author Topic: Somerset 'Rail to Trail' Project  (Read 467 times)
bignosemac
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« on: April 06, 2021, 06:57:53 pm »

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"The Rail to Trail project hopes to create a level path allowing walkers, cyclists, mobility scooter and wheelchair users, runners and horse riders to travel safely away from traffic between towns and villages across Somerset through glorious countryside! This in turn would be a benefit to cars and farm traffic on our roads not having to worry about cyclists or pedestrians in their way.

We are currently working on a proposal to transform the disused Somerset & Dorset railway line from the south border of Somerset at Henstridge to the north-west border at Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea. It is one of the most ambitious projects of it’s kind and we aim to link our endeavours with those of the North Dorset Trailway to the south and with Frome’s Missing Links and the Strawberry Line to the north."

This project is currently surveying people across Somerset, primarily those that live along or near the route of the former Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway lines through the county. There are three surveys, split into:

Bridgwater to Glastonbury
Pitcombe to Glastonbury
Wincanton to Henstridge

If you live in one of these areas, or would be a likely user of the proposed paths, then the surveys can be found at the following link:
https://www.railtotrail.org/

Closing date for the surveys is 21st April 2021.

On a personal note, I'd rather the S&DJR (Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway) was reinstated as a railway line, but these proposed plans are an acceptable alternative.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 07:14:26 pm by bignosemac » Logged

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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2021, 08:25:58 pm »

I also hope to see the railway  reinstated, and therefore do not support any alternative re-use as this effectively prohibits future railway use
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bignosemac
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 12:31:19 am »

I also hope to see the railway  reinstated, and therefore do not support any alternative re-use as this effectively prohibits future railway use

A multi use path keeps some of the alignment, earthworks and structures in good condition. That leaves the outside chance of a return to rail use. The alternative is it becomes further lost to the plough and flora.

The reality though is that too much is lost already. With the route of the S&DJR (Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway) completely lost to development in many places. In Wincanton housing and industry are now on the track bed. In Templecombe there is a huge factory (recently further expanded) on the alignment.
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 06:46:48 am »


Bridgwater to Glastonbury
Pitcombe to Glastonbury
Wincanton to Henstridge

If you live in one of these areas, or would be a likely user of the proposed paths, then the surveys can be found at the following link:
https://www.railtotrail.org/

Closing date for the surveys is 21st April 2021.


In terms of potential re-instatement in the future, they strike me as different cases.

1. Bridgewater to Glastonbury is the Bridgwater branch of the S&DJR (Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway) followed by a section of the original main line from Burnham
2. Pitcome to Glastonbury is part of the main line followed by the original main line from Everchreech to Glastonbury
3. Wincanton to Henstridge is purely main line

Arguments on each of them may differ; a business case for re-opening the Bridgwater branch would be very different to a business case for a main line service that would be impacted by the second and third cases.
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 10:19:45 am »

Of course, it shouldn't be forgotten that people had the opportunity during the previous decade to back an organisation - The New Somerset & Dorset Railway - whose primary aim was to reinstate the S&DJR (Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway) as a railway line. Instead, that organisation was ridiculed and vilified to such an extent that it was forced out of existence.

I myself experienced a taste of that when I put forward the rather more modest - and in my view more credible - proposal to reopen from Bath to Radstock/Shepton.

Now, I always considered the debate to be respectful, balanced and well-argued on both sides on this forum. However, I made the cardinal error elsewhere of suggesting that people should be prepared to be more open-minded about the prospects of reopening former sections of the S&DJR.

The reaction I got was like nothing I had experienced before. It would appear that a special level of vitriol is deployed by those who seek to defend S&DJR naysayers against reopening advocates, the extent of which was a real eye-opener even for a seasoned rail campaigner such as myself who likes to think they have seen most of what the game can throw at us. As a result, I no longer mention the idea - Life is just too short to have to tolerate that level of personal abuse.

As an aside, I have noticed that 2 of the leading S&DJR sceptics from that time seem to have disappeared after having previously been very active. I often remark to grahame as to how few of those from the early days who were very vocal - but rather more respectful - in their view that a TransWilts Rail revival would never happen are still around, while the two of us have remained very much still standing throughout. In reality though I take very little pleasure from that - In my view, when things get to that stage, we are all losers.

In conclusion then, I find myself agreeing with bignosemac on this. Probably better to preserve the routes and alignments in this way, in the hope of more enlightened times ahead, in which more enlightened people live.
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