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Bath Green Park Station , (originally called Bath, Queen Square), is now the site of a supermarket, but the front of the station has been restored, and the glass canopy which once covered the platforms and waiting trains now protects shoppers cars parked where trains once waited. Half a mile west, where the line turned southwards across the A36 road, nothing remains of the bridge which carried the line. The road has been widened, removing any trace of the railway, but a little further south at the end of Bellotts Road, it is possible to find traces of the trackbed, now a shared cycle/footpath. This path now known as the Two Tunnels path is on the trackbed of the S&D and goes through Devonshire Tunnel and Coombe Down Tunnel and continues to Midford and beyond.

Bath Green Park station, 1982

The facade of Bath Green Park Station, shortly after its restoration for Sainsburys plc, in 1982.

Photograph kindly supplied by Chris Nevard.

The Somerset and Dorset Railway always attracted a lot of attention from railway enthusiasts and still generates much interest, although many of its faithful adherents today are too young to remember it when it was operational.

The difficult section from Bath to Evercreech Junction, with its steep gradients of up to 1 in 50, which made locomotives work hard and necessitated double heading of trains on the section over the Mendip Hills, no doubt helped to earn the railway its nickname of the “Slow and Dirty”, but even this term was used with affection by its devotees. It was the completion of the Evercreech to Bath branch in 1874, (which was then to become the main line), that enabled the Midland Railway, who had built a 10 mile branch line from Mangotsfield on the Bristol - Birmingham line, to Bath, to gain access to the South Coast by running trains over the S&D line from Bath to Bournemouth. An express train ran from Manchester to Bournemouth from 1910, but in 1927 it acquired the name “The Pines Express” which will always be associated with the S&D.

Unfortunately after the extension to Bath, the S&D found itself in serious financial difficulties and in 1875 it reached an agreement with the Midland Railway and the L&SWR under which the S&D was leased to these two companies for 999 years and became a ‘joint line’. The S&D now became the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. In the summer of 1923 the SDJR was vested jointly in the Southern Railway and the LMS, companies which had resulted from the amalgamations under the Railways Act of 1921.

Britains railways were nationalised on 1st January 1948 and on the 2nd February the SDJR became part of the Southern Region of British Rail. Early in 1958 the Western Region became responsible for the section from Bath to Henstridge. Following the ‘Beeching Report’ in March 1963 the SDJR line finally closed on the 7th March 1966.

LMS Jinty 0-6-0

Somerset and Dorset

Joint Railway

Searching for a lost line

Copyright © Gordon Jones 2016

History & Bath Green Park Station - Tucking Mill & Midford - Midford Viaduct, Wellow, Shoscombe and Radstock

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Marker shows site of Green Park Station