Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, February 01, 2009
a dorset branch line
Toller. (Building now at Totnes on the South Devon Railway).
Four shots from a Dorset branch line (25.2.1975).
This was the Bridport branch a few months before closure. It was a surprising survivor in many ways, although if it were open today no doubt it would be flourishing. Sitting on the southern side of the train you hardly saw a house the whole way, but Bridport itself was a large town, certainly deserving of a railway station in the 21st century!
There were preservation attempts, but the mid seventies were a pretty difficult time for heritage railways. A later scheme planned a revival of the whole route including the extension to West Bay, and a second line to Crewkerne. Some work was done at West Bay, which currently has track laid, but the scheme was a little before its time. No doubt it will reappear quite soon! Gauge would be 2 foot rather than standard.
This whole area is quite similar to the countryside of the S&D, in fact the Castle Cary-Dorchester route is quite S&D-like, serving small villages with a complex junction arrangement round Yeovil and a seaside resort as a destination. The Bridport branch left this line at Maiden Newton.
I've dug out some old photo albums, much more to follow including Broadstone and Wimborne with track - the closest I got to seeing the original S&D as a railway rather than an empty trackbed!