(Pic copyright Rail Thing/Steve Sainsbury)
Way back in 2009, when the New Somerset and Dorset Railway was formed, we were living in a very different world! Roads still seemed to be in the ascendant, and rail enthusiasm was still considered a tad eccentric.
Things have changed a lot in 8 years! Rail reopenings are gathering pace and some interesting closed lines are coming into the spotlight. One of course is the S&D!
I got an early morning phone call today from Radio Solent who had got the press release from the government re rail reopenings. I was invited to do a piece for the 11.30 am slot, live! I managed to wing it without stuttering or swearing, the net result being that the New S&D got yet more publicity and I managed to name check all five restoration groups along the route. I also managed to name check all the bigger places en route (Blandford, Sturminster Newton, Wincanton, Midsomer Norton and Radstock), all of which will benefit enormously in so many ways when the line returns.
That door is opening very slowly. Real energy crunches are still a way off, but already the rail restoration movement in all its variety is beginning to move into the mainstream. The important thing is to organise LOCALLY, so your line gets a profile. Most Beeching closures should be reversed over the next few decades, but there will be inevitable shortages of cash, materials and manpower as restoration picks up.
Please do your bit!
(Pic is Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway back in 1976, now totally restored and transformed ...)