Plans for The Somerset and Dorset Railway at Midsomer Norton
As we come towards the end of a busy season of running trains the railway is also pushing ahead with planning for the future.
Top of the list is with the second of our two very popular compartment style carriages M34527 . This carriage does not have any heating so we cannot expect our visitors to sit and shiver whilst travelling on the railway. The good news is that, thanks to the generosity of a supporter, we have funds in place to remedy the problem. Our carriages are heated by steam piped through from the steam locomotive pulling the train.
In the next few weeks. M34527 will be going to a nearby specialist company who will fit the carriage will all the fixtures and fittings needed for it to be warm and cosy when in passenger service. Our hope is that the work will be completed in time for M34527 to form part of our Santa Experience services and our New Year’s Day Mince Pie Specials.
Another important project, which is well advanced, is with our second-hand and donated goods emporium. This will be in a former parcel carrying carriage which is adjacent to our Buffet Carriage . When the restoration work is finished, which could be before the end of this year, we will have an ideal place to properly display our ever growing stocks of donated books, DVDs, memorabilia, model railway items and more besides. Our visitors will enjoy browsing in comfort and the sales we achieve of these items will become an important source of income for the railway.
Inevitably, as with any heritage railway, some of our bigger plans are for the long-term and will require huge sums of money to achieve.
For example, the railway has a pressing need of covered accommodation for our carriages so they can be maintained and serviced in whatever the weather. The railway owns a small parcel of land just outside the station which will be suitable for this purpose. We are actively pursuing planning permission with the local planning authority.
A project important for our visitors is to improve our toilet facilities, and this is also at the planning stage.
We also need facilities to service and maintain our fleet of locomotives and this is another project being actively pursued.
We are often asked if the railway can be extended from its current boundaries. There are huge obstacles to be overcome. Even so, we cannot be deterred and behind the scenes we are laying the groundwork that might one day make this possible.