Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway No.88, now No. 53808, was built in Darlington, by Robert Stephenson & Co., in 1925. The first 6 engines in the class were introduced in 1914, to work the coal and goods traffic on the heavily graded route over the Mendip Hills. In 1925, post-Grouping, 5 more were ordered and No.53808 was one of them, which, I suppose, would make her an LMS rather than S&DJR engine. No.53808 was a one shed engine, allocated new to Bath Green Park where she remained until withdrawn in March 1964.
Despatched to Woodhams scrapyard she was saved by the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust; and is usaully to be found at work on the West Somerset Railway. However, in the photograph she is en-route to Ingrow with the 14:20 goods from Keighley; the banker is K&WVR resident, Ex-Taff Vale Railway 0-6-2T, No.85. In addition to their intended freight duties the S&DJR Class 7F 2-8-0s frequently saw service on passenger duties, between Bath and Bournemouth, especially during the Summer timetable.
Motive power over the S&D’s Bath – Bournemouth route was a mix of LMS and Southern, the line’s joint owners, and in the later years Bulleid Pacifics were a not uncommon sight. The British Railways 9F 2-10-0s were also used for a time and in 1960, the now preserved No.92203, was one of number allocated to Bath Green Park. The S&D was, to all intents an purposes, immortalised in the work of the photographer Ivo Peters and in the footplate work and writings of Bath Green Park enginemen Donald Beale and Peter Smith. It was very nice, to have had a distant echo them and the line they loved right here in Yorkshire.
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: