Somerset & Dorset, Local RailwaysItems selected: Total cost:
Paul Stanton [Publisher: Silver Link 2021] Hardback 128 pages
A well informed and very well illustrated account of the recent history of the railway network around Bristol, written by a career railwayman with a positive and lively interest in his subject and industry. Paul's late father John was a railwayman too, and the many of the earlier photographs in the book are his. Whatever you think of the changes that have taken place over this period, railway staff have kept the job running through thick and thin, whilst undergoing significant changes themselves, and the network now carries more passengers than ever before. There are very many positive aspects to all of this and this book celebrates them all through images and an optimistic and joyous text which is a credit to the author and a great advertisement for the railway industry.
Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith [Publisher: Middleton Press 1999] Hardback 96 pages
The usual combination of large scale OS map extracts and photographs from this publisher, taking us on a journey along the Midland route from Bath. Mangotsfield junction is particularly well covered, as are the complicated arrangements in Bristol. Photographs are predominantly historic, current views show Barton Hill Depot, the waste transfer station and the preservation activities at Bitton.
Mitchell and Smith [Publisher: Middleton Press 1987] Hardback 96 pages
Starting at Bournemouth West this book takes us up the previously neglected stretch of line as far as Evercreech Junction. The vast majority of photographs were previously unpublished and reveal a very different sort of S&D to the Northern Extension. Of particular interest is the volume of freight shown being handled by pick up goods at intermediate stations, especially Blandford, which remained open until 1969 for freight traffic.
Mitchell and Smith [Publisher: Middleton Press 2003] Hardback 96 pages
An intersting collection of lines, the two "proper" branches to Clevedon and Portishead, the light railway connecting the two with Weston (the WC&P) and the myriad dock lines in Bristol that spread from Ashton Gate. Current harbourside operations are featured and there are lots of tantalising views of the complicated junctions and bridges of the harbour lines in Bristol.
Mitchell and Smith [Publisher: Middleton Press 1989] Hardback 96 pages
The S&D's branch, including the "twigs" to Wells and Bridgwater are here surveyed in the usual style of the publisher. Highbridge Works and the wharf are well covered, with old OS map extracts and pre grouping shots being used to good effect. There is even a view of one of the Eclipse Peat Company's narrow gauge Listers crossing the SD line on the level, together with the results of a collision at this point, overall this book is a delightful record of an often overlooked piece of railway.
Neil Macmillen And Mike Chapman [Publisher: Lightmoor 2014] Softback 164 pages
A revised and very much enlarged edition of Neil Macmillen's 1990 history of Camerton's collieries, originally written to record the history of coal mining in the parish after the site of Old Pit had been secured for public use. Based on published sources but also a lot of original research, this new edition has been greatly enhanced by a large amount of material that has come to light since original publication and I'm sure Neil won't mind me saying that the production quality of the new edition is also in a different league to the original. The photographic coverage is vastly extended, covering not only the colliery but also Camerton Station and other aspects of the branch and its earlier canal. There are more of Mike Chapman's excellent plans, period sketches and reproductions of old OS maps and sketches and the story also includes early coal mining in Somerset, Reverend Skinner and the work of William Smith. This truly is a spectacularly good book at all levels - at last I have something decent to sell that covers the Camerton branch!
Colin Maggs [Publisher: Oakwood 2005] Softback 176 pages
A considerably expanded edition of the 1992 editon, covering the 12 mile long Midland Railway branch line that ran from the outskirts of Bristol to a grandiose neo classical terminus in Bath. Double tracked throughout and forming the northern link to the famous Somerset and Dorset line, the variety and volume of traffic carried on this line in its heyday and up until the 1960s was staggering. Even the closure of the S&D in 1966 couldn't extinguish it, freight lingered on into the 1970s when the final customer had other arrangements made for them so that the whole could be closed. This book is a densely packed record, with good photographic coverage.
Chris Handley [Publisher: Millstream 2001] Softback 160 pages
I found this a very enyoyable read, the story is highly interesting and puts some real "flesh" onto the bones of the Somerset and Dorset Railway's earlier history. Optimisim dogged by numerous setbacks and diluted by continual financial crises eventually produced a highly successful operation at Highbridge Wharf, which contributed to the railway's fortunes over a long period of time. This book is the result of years of interest and research, and contains a real wealth of detail, including an astonishing number of highly relevant photographs, especially given the relative antiquity of much of the subject matter. I find myself left with a real appetite to know more about the rest of the railway's operations over this interesting period and a distinct feeling that the "British Railways" era was just a minor postscript to a magnificent story about which we know too little.
Simon Castens [Publisher: Thunderbolt Books 2018] Softback 56 pages
A new expanded and updated edition of a book I published back in 1999, a guide to the locations used in the making of The Titfield Thunderbolt. Detailed information on all of the locations used together with film facts and anecdotes, biographical details of key players and maps showing the locations. The original book brought together various pieces of published information with original research in one place for the first time, and this new edition is a vastly improved piece of work. It contains very many more photographs, which are all beautifully reproduced on art paper throughout the text, and the information and anecdotes have been variously corrected, updated or added to throughout.
Chris Handley [Publisher: Millstream 1992] Hardback 160 pages
Volume 2 concentrates on the locomotives, train workings, track plans and signalling of the S&D in Radstock. I was not sure that there was much else to show or say after volume 1, but this book proves that there was. Full scale drawings of all structures and staggeringly detailed photographs make this completion of Chris Handley's labour of love ideal for modellers.
Chris Handley [Publisher: Millstream 1991] Hardback 160 pages
An extremely comprehensive history of the Somerset and Dorset in Radstock which includes the line out to Shoscombe and Single Hill Halt and all of the collieries in the area. This is a beautiful book which has been meticulously researched by Chris Handley providing fascinating details and maps of a Radstock which is alas no more.
Jefferey Grayer [Publisher: Crecy 2012] Hardback 128 pages
Comments as for the first part of this new two volume S&D essay, this second book benefits from the inclusion of views of extended post closure operations at Blandford, Bason Bridge and the line to Wimborne, in addition to the attenuated operations at Templecombe. The branch has reasonable coverage, including the late remaining significant remains at Glastonbury and Fisons narrow gauge operations at Ashcott which outlasted the standard gauge by many years. This is a fascinating look back at the less well frequented parts of what must arguably be the most photographed line in the land.
Derek Phillips [Publisher: Irwell Press 2021] Hardback 336 pages
This book describes the whole Somerset and Dorset railway system on a route by route basis, giving scale track plans and signalling diagrams for each location, accompanied by a large number of wonderful photographs. Drawn from many sources, these showing trains, stations, signal boxes, sheds, signals and a really good number of "out of the way" views, all presented with detailed captions and a good historical account of the line itself. There is so much to like in this book, views and scenes I have never seen in print before, a good number of pre BR and earlier photographs and overall an absolute wealth of detail and information on numerous aspects of this legendary railway. Views include classic and beautifully composed shots from the late Ivo Peters and G A Richardson, famous for their own S&D books back in the day, but also a very large number drawn from less well known photographers. Chief among these are the incredible record photographs of the line in its last years taken by the late John Eyers, who photographed views and details of the line that no reasonable person could expect to see in print, especially 55 years after the whole system was extinguished. The book opens with a revealing account of the railway life of Les Willsher from the Second World War on the line up to closure. Told to Derek when he was researching his earlier book in 1990, it is an unusually honest and moving recollection which gives a good sense of the pitfalls and dangers of a railway life in the days of steam. If I was forced to make a criticism, it would only be that some of the Jon Ayers pictures are a little on the grainy side, but this will only be a reflection of the quality of the original material I am sure, the reproduction and printing of this book is very good indeed. In summary, a significant new book on its subject and one that will appeal to all S&D fans and many more besides, I have added a copy to my own book collection.
Mike Arlett and David Lockett [Publisher: Lightmoor 2008] Hardback 192 pages
Norman Lockett, an accomplished photographer in his own right, was a friend of Ivo Peters and often accompanied him on his photographic expeditions. On this basis I was afraid that this might have been rather a "familiar" collection, but in fact rather the opposite is the case. There are two principal reasons for this; firstly Norman started photographing the S&D from 1935 and (apart from the war) photographed the line extensively before 1950 and secondly he visited quite a few "non Ivo" locations. Both of these aspects of Norman's photography have been fully exploited in this book and the authors have also gone back to the original glass plate negatives for reproduction, often using the full uncropped image to good effect. The result is very pleasing, a good reference for modelling detail and a terrific record of a couple of more obscure parts of the S&D - most especially the "branch" between the GWR main line and Church Street in Highbridge. There is also a rare shot showing Downside ground frame very clearly - all in all this is a very worthwhile addition to any S&D library.
Bob Bunyar [Publisher: Wild Swan 2016] Softback 96 pages
The first of a new format of book from Wild Swan, the same size as the old "Bradford Barton" books, but produced as a sewn softback and printed to high standards by Amadeus. This first is a recollection of the last weekend over the Somerset and Dorset by Bob Bunyar, which includes a chapter on the years leading up to the end and selected events following the closure. Copiously illustrated in both black and white and in colour, and featuring many views that have not been published before.
Gerry Nicholls [Publisher: Crecy 2018] Hardback 176 pages
A much improved book over the original, substantially the same book but with some additional material, arranged a bit differently but with vastly improved image quality, a book now worthy of the photographer and his subject.
Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith [Publisher: Middleton Press 1995] Hardback 96 pages
A comprehensive photographic survey of a relatively short stretch of railway, with good photographic coverage of Limpley Stoke station. My little business even gets a mention, although the contemporary shots were unfortunately taken before we put up the new running-in board. All periods are covered and this book also has the best photographic coverage of Bath that I have recently seen together in one book.
Duncan Harper [Publisher: Millstream 1987] Hardback 112 pages
Something quite different; a personal, well researched and unique cameo of railway history in the Somerset and Wiltshire counties. Artistically put together but not at the expense of accuracy, this is a beautiful book which has appeal both to and beyond the railway fraternity.
Colin G. Maggs [Publisher: Oakwood 2007] Softback 120 pages
A competent and well illustrated history and account of the light railway that ran from Congresbury on the GWR's Cheddar Valley line to a picturesque terminus at Blagdon. Opened in 1901, a passenger service ran until 1931 while freight traffic lasted until 1950 when the line was cut back to Wrington, which itself closed with the remains of the branch in 1963. Some of the original light section flat bottom rail survived until the end and made an interesting sight under the relatively modern Ivatt 2-6-2s used in the line's last years, well illustrated in several good views in this book.