The Main Line & Branches.
Hardback 336 pages. The book contains nearly 600 monotone photographs, 95% are unpublished views of the line. There are diagrams of every station (including early closures), junction and yard including the branches to Burnham-on-Sea, Bridgwater and Wells plus the original line to Wimborne.
If ever a line could be called an evergreen favourite it is the Somerset & Dorset, so quintessentially English in its achingly beautiful settings, its charming stations and the blasting hill climbing efforts of its steam locomotives. All of it unsullied by diesels right up to its final demise in 1966.
It was a line like no other, by turns a dozing branch, by turns a main line with double headed named expresses running the length of the country. It is no wonder that so many volumes have been devoted to it though it has probably never been covered photographically to this extent, in the detail of its buildings and track – getting on for 600 photographs reveal the intricacies and grandeur of the line as never before, together with finely drawn diagrams of every station, yard and junction.
The author worked on the footplate on the Southern Region in the South West and the S&D has been close to his heart ever since. The plans are an especially useful feature: ‘Up’ is Broadstone to Bath and Evercreech Junction to Highbridge, ‘Down’ is Bath to Broadstone and Highbridge to Evercreech Junction. Pause for breath… ‘Down’ S&D trains from Broadstone to Bournemouth became ‘Up’ trains on the Southern. S&D trains were ‘Down’ leaving Bournemouth West until reaching Broadstone upon which they became ‘Up’ on joining the S&D!
As we say, it was a line like no other!