The Somerset & Dorset Files: No. 4
The Somerset & Dorset Railway was a wonderfully charismatic and highly photogenic line, the 71½-mile journey from Bath to Bournemouth involving a slog over the rugged Mendip Hills on gradients of up to 1 in 50, then a dash along the beautiful Stour Valley through picture-book-perfect North Dorset. And then there was the S&D’s own ‘withered arm’ - the oft-forgotten branch to Glastonbury, Highbridge and Burnham, which had its own ‘branches off the branch’ to Wells and Bridgwater. A West Country jewel, the S&D has, over the years, justly been the subject of many books, magazine articles, videos and DVDs - and there’s even a 45rpm record knocking about somewhere. So is there room for another addition to the line’s already substantial bibliography? Well, yes - Irwell Press is offering something new.
The series of six (!) books includes a substantial proportion of photographs which, to the best of our knowledge, have never been published before. And the photographs are exquisite! The books also include archive 25-inch Ordnance Survey maps of the stations, along with much of the towns or villages they served; so with various other snippets of local interest thrown in (and we have come up with oodles of delightfully quirky snippets!) the books extend beyond ‘hard core’ railway matters and include a generous helping of associated local interest as well. We smugly believe that these books will offer something ‘new’ even to the most diehard S&D fan.
Each of the six books looks at selected stations along the line, extending through the series to every one of the 45 stations on the main line between Bath and Bournemouth, the ‘Withered Arm’ to Burnham-on-Sea and the Bridgwater and Wells branches. We also have special features about selected aspects of, not only the S&D ‘proper’, but also its appendages: for example, the famous 7F 2-8-0s, Bulleid Pacifics on the S&D, the Oakhill Brewery railway etc etc. And there’s even more… There’s also a major feature about the run-down and closure of the line; this is accompanied by various extracts from official documents about this most controversial of closures - material which has not been seen in print before.
Softback, 56 pages, black & white photographs, maps etc.
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