The Somerset and Dorset at Midford
Midford encapsulates, as well as any other part of the line, that peculiar character of the Somerset and Dorset Railway which has caught the imagination of so many people over the years, now perhaps even more than ever, twenty years after the closure of the line. Its idyllic rural setting, dominated by the viaduct, the station itself cut out of the steep hillside, the variety of loco-motives which worked the line, the particular difficulties of its single-line working and attendant signalling arrangements all contributed to this character.
This book provides a detailed account of Midford's role in the S&D's history, from the predecessors of the S&D, through the opening of the Bath Extension in 1874, to its final sad closure in 1966. Many related matters are also covered, intruding the place of the GWR's Camerton Branch in the railway history of Midford and other proposed railway schemes for the area. The peculiarities of Midford's signal-ling are fully covered together with all details of the station buildings.
But above all, this book recalls the human side of the S&D in this one small village. The pan played by the railway in the life and work of the village is very evident, and the author's personal recollections of the station staff, told in a lively and entertaining manner, bring to the book an added interest not always present in more technical railway histories. There is much sympathy, friendship and humour in this document of social history, all recounted with lasting respect for the characters involved.
Over 100 photographs are included, most of which have never been published before, together with track layouts, signalling diagrams and scale drawings of the station buildings. The result is a profusely illustrated and finely drawn picture of one small part of the S&D, but one typical in so many ways of the workings of countless cherished lines of the past.
Hardback with dust jacket, 112 pages, black & white photographs, drawings, track plans timetable extracts etc.
NB Sun fading to spine
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Updated: 1 April 2020