(Photo copyright Mick Knox Dec 2011)
One of the misconceptions about the S&D is that it was some sort of branch line! Anyone who had seen the line at its peak in the 1950s would never make this mistake. Trains worked block on block, especially on the single track sections and especially on summer Saturdays. Passenger trains were joined by a succession of heavy freights and of course there was the express train, the Pines.
At Midsomer Norton they are relaying double track and the above shot really captures this. The only other double track standard gauge heritage line is the Great Central. Most of the S&D was of course double track, there were short sections of single track between Bath GP and Midford and through Corfe Mullen, plus a longer stretch between Templecombe and Blandford.
So we will shortly have two restored stations on double track S&D (Midsomer Norton and Spetsibury) and two on single track (Shillingstone and Midford). Perhaps the real beauty of the S&D is that it could look like a main line and a branch line at the same time, depending on where you were and what trains were passing!