27 May 2013
The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway existed
in several guises between 1854 and final closure to passenger services
It started off as two separate companies, the
Somerset Central Railway which began service in 1854 and the
Dorset Central Railway which began in 1860. These two companies
agreed from a very early date to join together both their tracks and
their companies, with the result that the Somerset & Dorset Railway
was born in 1862.
The company was over-ambitious though, and it
over-spent on new locomotives and in building the new connection
from Evercreech Junction to the Bath (Midland) station at Queen's
Square. It was quickly forced to accept the fact that it had to sell
out to the bigger companies.
However, rather than agree a purchase with the
Bristol & Exeter Railway which, as an operating arm
of the GWR, had run the earliest services on the Somerset
Central and was seen as the natural source of a takeover, the S&D
agreed a joint ownership deal with the Midland Railway and
the London & South-Western Railway. These companies shared
the running and operating duties on the Somerset & Dorset Joint
Railway from 1875, with the Midland being the main supplier of
locomotives. The line still retained a degree of independence, and
this continued until 1930, when the S&D was formally absorbed by
the LMS and SR.
During the years of independence until 1875 and
semi-independence until 1930, the S&D bought and sold a
relatively small but somewhat bewildering array of locomotives.
Quite often, new arrivals re-used old stock numbers, or older
locomotives were renumbered as they were rebuilt or refurbished.
Overall, the locomotives can be divided into four main phases:
- Primitive locomotives of the early days
- Johnson-era locomotives from the Midland Railway in Derby
- Fowler-era locomotives from the Midland Railway
- Locomotives gained during the last days
The table below shows the locomotives acquired by
the line in each of the four phases. Many of them carried over from
one phase to the next, and a large number of them survived until
1930 and even into British Railways days.
The fates of some of the locomotives are unknown, so
please help to fill in the gaps. Where photos are available, the maker
name will be shown as an underlined link. Click on this to view the
photo in a separate window. There are plenty of gaps in the photographic
record, so please send in more photos to help build it up. Get in