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S&DRT Dorchester Area Group celebrates 30 years and 300 meetings
Posted on 3rd November 2017

The 300th meeting of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust's Dorchester Area Group

This year has already seen one significant 30th anniversary marked - that of the return to steam of our restored S&D 7F, No. 53808 - only to be followed by another: 30 years of the Dorchester Area Group!

Peter and Heather Foster started the group at their house on a cold and frosty evening in January 1987 with 18 railway enthusiasts attending.

Thirty years on, around 40 members of the Dorchester Area Group celebrated their 300th meeting at the Colliton Club in Dorchester during October, with a special celebration programme by Antiques Roadshow personality Dr. Paul Atterbury. He has a special interest in railways and spoke about the social aspects  -  how the coming of the railways enabled ordinary people to travel longer distances and so popularised resorts like Weymouth. Dr. Atterbury, who lives in Weymouth, showed a number of slides illustrating the growth of the railway system in Victorian times and then the decline resulting from the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

“It doesn’t seem like 30 years since we started, but presenting 300 programmes over that time is quite an achievement,” comments Peter. “Our success is thanks to the loyal support of a regular core of local people who stick with us. We have a good atmosphere. I do thank Heather for all her hard work behind the scenes and our small organising team which includes Jim Boudreau and Jeff Mowlam. We are glad that our members have appreciated our varied programmes and there is a feeling of achievement that we have been able to entertain them for over 30 years.”

​Peter and Heather also have railway interests elsewhere - they have been active on the Swanage Railway for many years and Peter has been the stationmaster at Harman's Cross for the last 10 years.

The next meeting is on Friday 24 November at 7.30pm when noted local railway historian Brian Jackson will give an illustrated programme on “160 years of railways in Weymouth.“ Meetings are on the last Friday of every month - except in August and December - at the Colliton Club. Further information from Peter and Heather Foster on 01305 262121.

[Photo by Michel Hooper-Immins]



November Dorchester Area Group Meeting
Posted on 26th October 2017

The November meeting of the Dorchester area group will take place in the Dorset Room of the Colliton Club, Dorchester at 7.30 on the 24th.

The speaker will be Brian Jackson who will be giving an illustrated talk on "160 Years of Railways in Weymouth."

Free current magazine with our latest edition S&D booklet.
Posted on 20th October 2017

We've recently reprinted our great intro. to the S&D, a 48-page A5 booklet full of archive photos and an excellent read.
It's great value at £2.50 but to tempt you further, we'll add a current copy of our quarterly magazine for just the extra post (50p).
This offer is available direct from the magazine Editor, via eBay:



Recent work on ex-Royal Ordnance Factory shunter at Washford
Posted on 19th October 2017

New starter motor being fitted to Andrew Barclay ROF No. 578 locomotive at Washford.

The ex-Royal Ordnance Factory shunter is owned by the West Somerset Railway and is on long-term hire to the Trust, the replacement of the starter motor being part of the agreement.



The WSR Autumn Steam Gala
Posted on 8th October 2017

The West Somerset Railway's Autumn Steam Gala ran from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th October and featured a variety of locomotives.

Here's a short video of the gala as seen from our Washford base on the Thursday. Starting with 44422+53809 on a through service and also featuring the Trust's own 53808 as well as 75014 'Braveheart'.

You will notice in the earlier shots of 53808 that a 30 years headboard is being carried; this refers to the locomotive having been returned to steam in 1987 after a 17-year-long restoration. 

Busy day at Washford fitting steam heating to 'Kilmersdon'
Posted on 1st October 2017



Busy day at Washford fitting steam heating to our Peckett 'Kilmersdon'. This will enable the locomotive to go on hire on passenger services at other heritage lines over the winter.

All work has been done by the Washford volunteer MPD gang Paul, Ryan & Liam.


Trust's photo collection to be made available online
Posted on 1st October 2017

75023 and 34043 on the 'down' Pines Express seen emerging from Chilcompton Tunnel on Saturday 25th August 1962. [Photo by John Woods/S&DRT collection]

The S&D Railway Trust has an archive of several thousand S&D images, which are steadily being scanned.

We will shortly start offering those for which we hold all rights on our new online shop. It is expected that low resolution images will be available for immediate download with higher resolutions and media quality available on request.

Look out for further announcements!

Sample picture: 75023 and 34043 on the 'down' Pines Express seen emerging from Chilcompton Tunnel on Saturday 25th August 1962. This is one of several hundred in the S&DRT John Woods collection.

Somerset Coalfields Remembered at Washford - 5th to 8th October
Posted on 27th September 2017

This event will be at our base at Washford railway station on the West Somerset Railway and on the A39, TA23 0PP, taking place between Thursday 5th and Sunday 8th October - during the WSR Autumn Steam Gala.

- 1788 Kilmersdon, our ex-Somerset coalfield locomotive which will be in steam along with 1219 Caledonia Works.
- Ex-NCB lorries.

- Information displays about the coalfield.

Traders attending (Friday - Sunday):
- 6880 Betton Grange
- 169/5542 locomotive group

- O Gauge tin plate sales stand

Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust shop open.

Tea/coffee/light refreshments 


All subject to availability.

[B&W photo of 'Kilmersdon' whilst at Kilmersdon Colliery, by the late Mike Palmer]