Dorset Traction by Mark Jamieson
Dorset - where the South Coast meets the West Country. From golden sandy beaches to rolling hills, delightful seaside towns and idyllic country villages, Dorset has long been a popular destination for visitors. Although not a vast railway network, several main lines either cut through the county or finish there. The most famous line to have passed through this county is the now long-closed Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway from Bath to Bournemouth. Many other lines were also closed over the years; the branch lines to Lyme Regis, Bridport, Portland and Abbotsbury, and the Swanage branch from Wareham - all have been closed and lifted. The most recent closure has been that of the Weymouth Quay tramway, which saw its last train in 1999. Since the end of Southern steam in 1967, and into the modern traction era, Dorset has probably been synonymous with the Class 33/1 and 4TC operation between Bournemouth and Weymouth prior to the 1988 electrification west of Bournemouth. After twenty-one years of service, these in turn were replaced by the Class 442 Wessex Electrics until 2007 when the Siemens-built Class 444 and 450 Desiro units took over. The West of England route from Waterloo to Exeter lost its loco-hauled trains in June 1993 when the then new BREL Derby-built Class 159s came into service, and twenty-three years later they still work the same line they were intended for very reliably. The photographs chosen for this book, published for the first time, represent the traction Dorset has enjoyed over the years since the end of steam in 1967, and the landscape that they pass through.