The Somerset & Dorset Railway, known as the S&D (said to also stand for ‘Slow and Dirty’ or ‘Serene and Delightful’), ran from Bath across the Mendip hills to Bournemouth on the south coast. Never a high-speed line, the main traffic for the Somerset & Dorset during the winter months was freight and local passenger traffic. In the summer, however, there was heavy traffic as Saturday holiday services from the northern industrial towns passed along the line.
In 1962, John Betjeman travelled along the Somerset & Dorset from Evercreech Junction to Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea, making a BBC documentary called Branch Line Railway, in which he pleaded for the line to be spared from the Beeching cuts. However, despite an active campaign to save it, and the promise by the new Labour government that there would be no more railway cutbacks, on 7 March 1966 the whole line was closed. 2016 saw the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of this much-mourned railway; here in this well-illustrated book, the history of the line is preserved.