The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway – almost always referred to as "the S & D" – was an English railway line connecting Bath in north east Somerset and Bournemouth now in south east Dorset but then in Hampshire, with a branch from Evercreech Junction to Burnham-on-Sea and Bridgwater. Strictly speaking, the main line ran from Bath Junction to Broadstone, as the line between Broadstone and Bournemouth was owned by the London and South Western Railway, while the line between Bath Junction and Bath was owned by the Midland Railway. It was never a high speed line: its winter business was carrying freight and local passenger traffic over the Mendips, but in the summer season the S & D came into its own, carrying a heavy service of Saturday holiday trains from northern towns to Bournemouth. It was often referred to as "the Slow and Dirty", or sometimes "the Slow and Doubtful", but it always commanded a considerable loyalty from railway enthusiasts, and when it closed in 1966 it was widely mourned.
The spirit of the Somerset and Dorset Railway lives on through our museum at Washford. The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust Museum contains relics of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (S & DJR), including station nameboards, lamps, tools, signalling equipment, tickets, photographs, handbills, rolling stock and steam locomotives. The Trust's Peckett and Sons 0-4-0ST No. 1788 "Kilmersdon" is normally based here. Next to the original stone station building of 1874 is a much smaller wooden building, which originally was the Great Western Railway's signal box. This structure now houses a recreation of the interior of the S&DJR signal-box at Midford. A second signal box is used as part of a signalling display in the yard and was formerly used on the S&DJR at Burnham-on-Sea. You can access, including wheelchair access, the museum across the tracks where the Trust’s collection of wagons and vans are stored, together with items rescued from the Somerset & Dorset, which range from photos, handbills and tickets to signals, the peat works railway from Ashcott, the signal cabin from Burnham-on-Sea and even a horse-drawn delivery dray.
There is also the S & D Mendip Mainline Project, operating as the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Centre. At Midsomer Norton you will find the restored station buildings, signalbox, goods shed and also the original stable block, now the museum, and wartime pillbox. They have a diesel locomotive, an under-restoration Sentinel 0-4-0 vertical-boilered steam locomotive, plus freight and passenger rolling stock and static buffet coach open for refreshments. Visit the station gift shop and the second-hand bookshop while you are there and enjoy the atmosphere and exhibits on this once-proud and much-loved holiday route. It is 2 mile from the Radstock Museum. The museum is wheelchair accessible although the signal box is not. The volunteer staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
Location : The Railway Station, Washford, Watchet, Somerset, TA23 0PP
Location : Midsomer Norton Station, Silver Street, Midsomer Norton BA3 2EY
Transport Washford: Washford (West Somerset Rail). Bus Routes : 15, 18 and 28 stop at the station.
Transport Midsomer Norton: Bath Spa (National Rail) then First Bus: 173, 177, 178, 184. Bus Routes : 82, 83, 172, 173, 175, 178, 184, 185, 668 and 776 stop near the station.
Opening Times Washford: Most Days 13:00 to 17:00, contact to confirm.
Opening Times Washford: Sundays 10:00 to 16:00; Mondays 13:00 to 16:00.
Tickets Washford : Adults £2.00; Children £1.00
Tickets Midsomer Norton : Free, donations welcome
Tel Washford: 01458 842243
Tel Midsomer Norton: 01761 411221