Talk:Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway/Archive 1

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Structure of Page

I think a little more about the train service would be worthwhile - the S&D had a significance beyond its local operation. (Usually pages like this are the other way round - all trains and no topography!) I think the reference to the "so-called" main line is unhelpful - it was the main line. And maybe "Management" is a misleading main heading. Afterbrunel 18:13, 24 June 2007 (UTC)


I have taken John's advice and merged my pre-1875 text into this page. There's still a lot to do.

I am having trouble getting the thumbnails of the big system maps to work; can anyone help me please?

Next steps so far as I can see are

  • A lot more about locomotive power -- this is not my strong area -- can anyone help
  • more recent trains services
  • historical development 1875 to the end

I think the final years needs to be handled carefully; people are fond of agonising about how awful it was. Of course it was, but I think this does not need to be overstated. Better to accentuate the positive. Afterbrunel 19:40, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

What was positive about it? Glastonbury was able to build a bypass in the 1990s on part of the trackbed, anything else? - I forgot Cellophane built on part of it as well and we got a cycle track.Pyrotec 20:10, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

The positive was that for a century, a quirky railway ran a fascinating railway against all the odds; that post-war until 1962 it ran fantastic trains over the Medips with interesting, if sometimes underpowered, traction over a difficult infrastructure; and that many many people got a lot of pleasure out of observing it, or reading about it in more recent books. Afterbrunel 11:56, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Well I agree with all that, but I thought you were talking about the final years and the closure. Once when it became part of Western Region the old GWR management set about dismantling it.Pyrotec 13:51, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I hope no-one will be offended if in a few days time I change the original position of the line diagram. I would like to put a geographical map at the beginning of the article; the objective is that someone who doesn't know much about the S&D can get a quick look at where it was. I think the line diagrams are actually too detailed for this purpose and confuse a new user. At the end of the article at present is a list of stations, and I think that is a perfect place for the line diagram. I would like to add station openings and closings to the list at that point, too. Afterbrunel 20:03, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

I have added some history of the Joint period; still a lot to do; location map for the beginning of the articel; find otu how to make the thumbnail instruction work properly; describe 1960's train service; dmu's attempted and failed; closure; post-war locomotives. Afterbrunel 09:26, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


I'm not sure about the wisdom of putting an entire timetable into the article. I think it would be better to link to this hosted somewhere off Wikipedia, or else place a scan of an original timetable online as an image file. Timings (in minutes) between stations could be placed on-line as a table to illustrate how long it takes to get from A to B. David Bailey 17:54, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I can see your point David; the timetable does sort of take over in terms of space occupied. I included it because of the importance (to some) of the dominating Summer Saturday train service, both in terms of remote destinations served, and the complexity of working the line itself. I felt that a paragraph of text saying just "On summer Saturdays there were a lot of trains from northern towns to Bournemouth" or the like didn't give the flavour properly.
Will you please give me another week and I will reposition the maps and the sequence of the narrative in general, to improve the relative space occupied by the various sections, and then revisit this if you are still uncomfortable.Afterbrunel 19:19, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Afterbrunel. I'll wait to see what you come up with. David Bailey 19:34, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I've come up with agonies of indecision. I merged the "Before 1875" page into this one, on the basis that no-one was going to key in as search terms "The Somerset & DOrset constituent railways before joint ownership."

My worry now is that the article is too lengthy (some people still access the internet over dial-up phone lines) and too historical. Ideally I wonder if an anoraks' page and a separate historians' page would work. Still pondering this one. I may need a few more days please. Afterbrunel 15:18, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

I should have said that I was also alarmed at the number of redirects to the pre-1875 page that is now blank. If you go there (I type in "Dorset Central Railway" and let that redirect me,) and then click "What links here?" there's quite a few, considering it's effectively a deleted page. Afterbrunel 15:23, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

I've just noticed on the BS3 rail diagram template, you can add timings or kilometre distances to the left of station names. David Bailey 19:51, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I think milepost mileages would be very helpful; I can source these from old WTT's if you don't have the information yourself. Afterbrunel 15:18, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I have just finished extending the diagram to use the full BS4 template, so that we can add distances in kilometres and timings. I don't have the data, so could you (Afterbrunel) supply this? David Bailey 21:41, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Kilometres??? My 1960's working timetables haven't heard of kilometres :-)
What kind of timings do you have in mind? I definitely think we should find a way of merging the table and the alongside text description of stations etc. Each one is excellent, but together they are overkill. Afterbrunel 07:12, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Alas, Wikipedia like us to use SI units (and their derivatives... like km) whenever possible. The BS templates guide say that distances are cumulative from the top most station (Bath Green Park) following the line down. If you post the distances in miles I'll do the conversions to km for you. With regards to timings, the time taken to get between each station cumulatively from Bath Green Park. David Bailey 10:01, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

OK. Here come the mileages. I regret memory had deceived me and these are not milepost mileages (as marked on the ground) but they are official mileages from the 1961 working timetables.

But, er, time taken between each station??? For a typical all-stations train, or what?

Anyway here are the mileages -- miles and chains (80 chains = 1 mile, but then you knew that :-) )

Bath Green Park:0.00 Bath Jn:0.41 Midford:4.29 Wellow:6.61 Shoscombe & Single Hill Halt:8.46 Radstock North:10.52 Midsomer Norton South:12.42 Chilcompton:14.39 Binegar:17.05 Masbury Halt:18.51 Shepton Mallet, Charlton Road:21.68 Evercreech New:24.72 Evercreech Jn North Box:26.10 Evercreech Jn:26.34 Cole:29.16 Wincanton:33.36 Templecombe Jn:36.54 Templecombe Upper:37.05

Templecombe Jn:0.00 Templecombe Lower:0.23 Henstridge:2.14 Stalbridge:3.53 Sturminster Newton:7.51 Shillingstone:10.54 Blandford Forum:16.11 Bailey Gate:22.20 Corfe Mullen S Box:24.02 Broadstone:27.02 Creekmoor Halt:28.25 Poole:30.36 Parkstone:32.22 Branksome:33.47 Bournemouth West:34.64

Highbridge for B-on-Sea:0.00 Bason Bridge:1.51 Edington Burtle:5.10 Shapwick:7.24 Ashcott:9.17 Glastonbury & Street:11.73 West Pennard:17.16 Pylle Halt:20.47 Evercreech Jn North Box:22.25 Evercreech Jn:22.49

Afterbrunel 19:40, 25 July 2007 (UTC)


After Closures, should we add a section on the restoration of the line? It has been going on for some fifteen years now, and as such, makes it a positive part of the history of the S&D. David Bailey 18:44, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes we should. Do you mean the Midsomer Norton crowd? They have a good website, and their map is aesthetically pleasing, although they are wrong about the extent of double line.

I only recommend that this is kept in proportion; for example if there is a "Friends of the S&D" group in Inverness, they might not deserve 40 lines of text. Afterbrunel 15:18, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

I think we should concentrate on the Midsomer Norton Station Project and the Shillingstone Station Project, as those two are actually relaying track and restoring buildings (BTW, I'm a recent member of the S&D Railway Trust, but don't hold it against me!). David Bailey 20:22, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Maps and Diagrams

The diagram I have placed on this page would be improved by a BS4 template but until one is available this solution puts it into BS3. Anyone who can improve it is welcome as per usual practice. Britmax 21:56, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Also I am not sure of the relative position of Shoscombe& Single Hill and the Foxcote Siding. Perhaps a Northener (i.e. from Bath!) could help. Britmax 22:02, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Improved Diagram installed. Still not sure which order those halts are in though Britmax 00:50, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Can anyone comment on the system map in use please? I am not sure it is as helpful as it could be to someone who didn't know the line very well, being non-geographic. Some of the stations are in red, but when I clicked on Masbury (as an example) it was a blank page. Any idea what this means? Afterbrunel 16:58, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I've created a Masbury railway station article of sorts. Redlinks just mean the article hasn't been written yet. In many cases, railway station articles link at present to the town (or village) rather than to a separate article: in the case of Masbury, there isn't really a village, so the station article is probably the sensible one to have. Johnlp 20:38, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I see, thanks. Well, I agree that if you click on Masbury on the line-of-route map, it ought to open your Masbury railway station page -- I think that would be logical even if there was someone else's Masbury Village page. Having a clickable link that goes nowhere is surely the worst of all worlds. If you don't object I'll edit the link to go to your page. Afterbrunel 08:53, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Over or Under?

The S&D went over the Wilts Somerset & Weymouth at Cole, not under it. If someone could point me to the syntax for the map, I'll correct it. Afterbrunel 09:43, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Done. Johnlp 20:20, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Highbridge Stations

Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
GWR to Bristol
Highbridge Stations
GWR to Taunton

Showing the crossover

Highbridge station might be better indicated as a straight crossing if this photo is anything to go by. Incidentally, the Ordinance Survey map lists the two original stations as "Highbridge Station (GWR)" and "Highbridge Junction Station (S&DJR)". David Bailey 18:36, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Nice picture; that's how I remember it. The view is facing Bristol, and the S&D station is off the picture to the right. Burnham is to the left. The curving track connecting the two is a shunting connection: you couldn't run through from Taunton to Burnham, so I would say that it wasn't a "route" -- in other words the S&D and the Bristol - Taunton line crossed on the flat. Afterbrunel 19:19, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
If we did put this in as a straight crossing, then we'd also have to change the diagram to a BS4... and that would give us the ability to add more details to other sections of the line. The OS maps I'm referring to are on Old Maps. David Bailey 19:46, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Go for it; I've only just properly studied the diagram, and as it is it's misleading; so make this change please, excellent Afterbrunel 15:18, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Change made. I also added the bridge over the GWR line in Bath and the bridge under the East Somerset Railway in Shepton Mallet. David Bailey 20:48, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Under -- so it was! Whenever I drive through Shepton Mallet I always look up at the high S&D viaduct from the A37 (Kilver Street Hill) and it never occurred to me that the S&D could go under the ESR. Afterbrunel 07:10, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I know... it took me by surprise as well. But there it was, on the OS maps going under! :-) David Bailey 09:46, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

S&DJR Crossing Glastonbury Festival Site

I'm seeking opinions on whether I should add the fact that the trackbed near Cock Mill Crossing, between Pylle and West Pennard stations, crosses the site of the Glastonbury Festival and functions as an internal road within the site. I think the fact that 100,000 people some years attend this makes it at least as notable as, say, Stourpaine and Durweston Halt. Input, though, would be welcome. My idea would be to link a simple note of the existence of the crossing to the diagram and put a short sentence in the article. Britmax 19:09, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
West Pennard
Cock Mill Crossing
P.S. The marker I have in mind to add to the map can be seen on my user page but in case I forget and delete it to sandbox further work it would be. Tell me what you think. Britmax 19:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the symbol for a crossing from BSicon exSTR+GRZq.svg to BSicon exBUE.svg. David Bailey 20:32, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

In the article picture on the festival today it can be seen as the line of trees that cut the apex of the pyramid stage in the background. Britmax 19:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I think this is fine and a nice link. Congratulations on the map: it's a real bonus. A couple of other points: your order for Shoscombe and Foxcote is correct, but Foxcote links awkwardly to a completely different place in Gloucestershire. Foxcote, by the way, was a signalbox at the end of a short colliery siding; there were other colliery sidings around Radstock, but they didn't have signalboxes. Is it possible to indicate that the S&D used (mostly) the Templecombe station on the Waterloo-Exeter LSWR mainline, and that there was a junction there (from the north)? (I also think there was a long disused link near Cole to the WS&WR line, but that may be memory playing tricks on me!). Johnlp 18:49, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments, I'm glad someone else likes the idea. Actually I've just sandboxed the Templecombe link and when the servers return from maintenance I'll put it up. Now you mention it I think I saw earthworks connecting the SDJR and WS&W from a passing DMU the day we saw Western Gauntlet in Dorchester West. So I'll need to look into that. A few more positive views and Cock Mill goes in (!) Britmax 22:34, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Good stuff. Johnlp 22:01, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Connections to Other Lines and their Names

I've just been looking through the diagram and noticed that we aren't being consistent with our naming of lines and the pages we link off to. Sometimes we link to lines with their current names (Heart of Wessex Line) and sometimes we use their original names (LSWR). Should we state that the diagram represents a point in time just prior to the Beeching Axe, and then use line and station names from that time period? David Bailey 21:58, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I entirely agree. The purpose of this is to be accessible to as many people as possible, and most people coming here for information will recognise 1960's names better. (Also "Heart of Wessex" is a marketing brand name, and they might call it something else next week; and it refers only to some of the local passenger train services on the route, not the route itself.

Afterbrunel 07:07, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Well done

Thanks D Bailey for condensing the line diagram and the list of stations. There is still a little to do but I think this is now pretty close to a first class article. Pity we can't yet find som photos of trains on the main line though. Afterbrunel 19:50, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Somerset Central Railway and Dorset Central Railway

I see that these railways have no page in wikipedia, so the reference to them on this S&D page is all they get. I think that needs rectifying, surely? Afterbrunel 18:23, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Good idea, and if you'd like to start them off... ;-) Johnlp 10:28, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, I'll do some research and put something up here. I might do it in a few stages -- it's easier to do an outline first and then fill in more detail. Afterbrunel 16:58, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

History of the Line

I'm a bit uncomfortable with the timeline here. The article says:

"The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway was formed ... in 1862."

and then:

"The word 'Joint' was added to the company name ... in 1875."

The first part of that is just not true. The Somerset & Dorset Railway -- not joint -- was formed in 1862, and its shareholders sold it to the Midland and LSWR in 1875 and it became the S&DJR.

I'll alter that if no-one has any objection. Afterbrunel 08:53, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

It's me again; I have given some more thought to this; I think this S&DJR article is powerful, because many people are interested in the route from the 1960's onward -- which they associate with the Joint Line and of course the Bath extension. To set the historical context in place, I will establish a page for the previous company structure down to the time of the sale to the Midland and LSWR. That will leave this (S&DJR) page substantially as it is -- I will just edit the first line or so to explain the previous ownership. Afterbrunel 17:40, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Good idea. I like the Somerset Central Railway stuff you've done a lot. BTW, I think you'll find the S&D was leased to the Midland and LSWR: these Victorians, even when bust, hated to sell anything. Johnlp 18:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, you are quite right. By leasing, they got 3.5% on their shares -- quite a lot in those days of very low inflation -- and didn't have to actually operate a railway or anything. I've converted the page to Somerset and Dorset railway before joint ownerhsip -- not a very sexy title, is it -- and included the Somerset Central, the Dorset Central and the spell from formation of the S&D to the lease. I'll do the small edit to this (S&DJR) page tomorow, all being well. I am still worried about maps. The "predecessor" page desperately needs one. I'd be grateful if anyone with experience of the issues involved would point me in the right direction as to how to generate them. Ideally I would like to draw a geographical map, i.e. not just a line diagram. Any ideas, anyone? Afterbrunel 19:14, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

It's very good work you're doing here. Well done. It's really good to see someone with some energy in these rural backwaters! I'd be inclined, though, to have separate articles for the Somerset Central Railway and the Dorset Central Railway up to the time of the amalgamation, and then to put the pre-"joint" history into the S&DJR article. Somerset and Dorset Railway already redirects to the S&DJR article, so there isn't a problem with that. An alternative would be to have a "Constituent Railways" section with the SCR and DCR stuff within the S&DJR article (and then redirect Somerset Central Railway and Dorset Central Railway to the S&DJR article). I'm not sure that anyone would search for a page entitled Somerset and Dorset railway before joint ownership, and getting searchable article titles is one of the black arts of encyclopedia-building. Johnlp 20:12, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

John (and everyone): That's a helpful observation. May I put an alternative thought here, with a view to crystallising the issue? I'd like to act on this in a week or so and anyone's input would be helpful. Here goes:
I think that potential readers fall into two groups: the gricers, who have seen videos of Evening Star going out of Bath Green Park with a ten coach train in 1963, and want to know more. And the historians, who are interested in origins and company history, and the date that West Pennard Station became a Halt. These are two quite separate groups and each -- but especially the former -- group will be turned off by having to wade through reams of text on something they are not looking for.
The choices we have here (it seems to me) are: (a) to make one massive page and try to put skilful section headings in so that readers can get direct to their area of interest; (b) completely fragment it so that every area of interest has a page; (c) divide it into two sections, which are respectively "ancient history" and "the relatively recent S&D". My preference is for (c) as the best compromise. I accept John's point that the watershed at 1875 between the S&DR and the S&DJR is too academic, and I think the split should be (1) Predecessor railways, with a mention of what happened in the decade to 1875, and (2) the S&D(J)R.
John has rightly pointed to the difficulty of visitors finding (1) if its title is convoluted; I think we can best deal with that using redirects.
Moving on I think that the S&D(J)R page needs some work; I think in particular the gricer group mentioned above would find it disappointing at present -- there is no mention of Evening Star at all, for example. The structure might be (these are not proposed actual titles) Intro, the S&D line as a gricer's haven 1955 - 1963, train services and locomotives, company history, topography of the line, accidents, post-closure history.
I am not making any proprietorial claim to this topic, and anyone's input (and work) is obviously welcome to us all. Afterbrunel 17:17, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Evening Star

Thanks for the correction, Britmax. I was coming back to do that, honestly, but I was too tired that night :-) Afterbrunel 07:54, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Still to do

Here is a summary of what I think still needs to be done. I am not making any proprietorial claim to this page, but shucks, this is how I see it.

  • I still don't think the first 20 lines or so are sexy enough for the anorak element -- it's a bit too academic.
  • Some copyright free photos of S&D steam trains would be great. Ideas, anyone?
  • Got to get the map thumbnails to work. Anyone know how to do this?
  • Got to get the tables to display properly -- regular column widths etc
  • I want to put a summary geographical map near the top, so that someone who doesn't know where Dorset is can get an idea. (If you think everyone knows where Dorset is, just watch any of the popular tv quizzes like Weakest Link to see what I mean.)
  • I'd like to put the line diagram down with the list of stations -- they obviously fit together -- and add some opening and closing dates.
  • The citations need to be amplified; poor old Robin Atthill did all the hard work and his book is submerged a bit. But there are some more citations to attend to.
  • Ought to link to the Bath Green Park station page
  • I'm still uneasy about all the dead station links. Every station has a link, but some of them aren't there when you click. I think this is counter-productive.

Afterbrunel 08:30, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Foxcote Siding

Sorry, it's me again. Readings Britmax's first comment, "Also I am not sure of the relative position of Shoscombe& Single Hill and the Foxcote Siding. Perhaps a Northener (i.e. from Bath!) could help. "

Well, I've got a Sectional Appendix in the loft. I'll look it up. EWr, you don't mean Writhlington? Afterbrunel 08:33, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I think we did this one in terms of the order. It's correct as it is. Foxcote was a signalbox; Writhlington was a colliery siding. Johnlp 17:43, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Um, yes. I don't wish to introduce controversy, but Writhlington was an important and complex freight terminal (in today's language) and Foxcote was just a one-time intermediate signal box, with a distant and home signal for each direction. I fully realise that Foxcote was the scene of the, er, Foxcote disaster -- but what does the line diagram show? Afterbrunel 19:19, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I was wrong. We didn't correct it. I think Foxcote is between Shoscombe and Radstock. I think it should be on the map as it's referred to (or the accident is) in the text. But I don't know enough about these diagrams to know whether you can show a signalbox as such. Agree the colliery sidings should be there. What about the Co-Op Milk Depot siding at Melcombe Road, Bath, which stayed open for a while after the rest of the line closed? Johnlp 20:16, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Oh gosh, where's that Sectional Appendix?
I am still nervous that the diagram is too detailed Afterbrunel 15:18, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
The diagram is as detailed as it needs to be. If we restrict ourselves to key stations and significant local highlights like long tunnels and crossings over other important lines, it won't get too unwieldy. I think we should just use the diagram and remove the section listing the station names as otherwise we are just duplicating data. You get more information from the diagram anyway, especially once we put the distances and timings in. David Bailey 10:08, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Time to Archive some of this discussion?

This discussion has been vigorous, positive and useful, but I wonder if it is time to archive some of it. A newcomer to this page reading all this would be mightily confused by it, especially the cases where we say "Why don't we ..." and it has been done.

I think Wikipedia has an archiving facility; I don't know how that works for saving (and keeping visible) the stuff that is still under discussion, though ... ? Afterbrunel 15:23, 23 July 2007 (UTC)


That's got the structure of the page more or less as I would like it. What do you think? And the thumbnails are working at last.

Still to do:

  • images: MUST get some images of the main line in action; any ideas, anyone?
  • The text list of stations at the end, and the line diagram, duplicate one another, rather. Any ideas, anyone?
  • I think the traction section is partly duplicated.
  • Still don't know where Foxcote was in relation to Shoscombe & Single Hill Halt. I am fairly sure they didn't both exist at the same time, which makes it more difficult.
  • There were some other accidents; not sure if that will be information overload.

Afterbrunel 19:27, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

  • The S&D built locos at Highbridge until the 1930s - this is absent from the article.
  • I've started dabbing some of the links, but more could be added - especially in the locomotive traction section. Pyrotec 20:12, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Please continue; this is not my strong area! Afterbrunel 20:49, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Location of Foxcote

I am now certain that this signal box was south of Shoscombe & Single Hill Halt, and north of the later Writhlington signal box. If you go to you can see the village of Foxcote, which is south of S&SHH. I am sure the signal box was somewhat south of that.

The S&D website at has evidently seen contemporary newspaper reports of the inquest and it quotes them as saying "an intermediate signalbox was opened at Foxcote about a mile from Radstock to serve the Braysdown colliery siding." This is closer to Radstock than Foxcote overbridge. The underbridge at GR 706 554 crosses Braysdown Road.

There's a lot of scrubby land south of the line just to the west of this, and it looks like mineral tippings to me (in Virtual Earth).

Frustratingly it isn't possible to see it on the on-line large scale old OS maps -- there's one for 1886 at 10,560 and there is a 1:2500 map too.

Afterbrunel 20:05, 23 July 2007 (UTC)