1st Take’s series of films exploring the Branch Lines of England now takes us to Somerset, as we explore over 160 years of rail travel in the county, with the help of rare archive material and a whistle-stop tour of sites of interest today. This is an extra special journey for Bath-based author and historian Colin Maggs, on whose book the DVD is based, as it is a celebration of his home county’s railway heritage.
Most of Somerset’s branch lines were closed during or before Beeching’s cuts of the 1960s, and these are examined in depth on our journey, from the 792-yard branch at Dunball Wharf near Bridgwater to the industrial railways of North Somerset, the Bristol to Portishead branch, the Cheddar Valley or ‘Strawberry’ Line and the Norton Fitzwarren to Minehead Railway.
Happily, the county is well blessed with some fine preserved lines: the beautiful East Somerset Railway at Cranmore; the West Somerset Railway between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, England’s longest standard-gauge heritage railway; the unique Bristol Harbour Railway and the Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre. You also have a rare chance to glimpse railway activity at Portbury Dock, as the freight line reopened there in 2001 and is now thriving. There is an accompanying feature on the campaign to re-launch a passenger service from Portishead to Bristol, and you will also enjoy a tribute to the fine work of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway Group.
Packed with wonderful images from Colin’s lifelong photographic collection, stunning modern film, archive footage excerpts and fascinating interviews, this DVD is essential viewing for railway enthusiasts.
Produced by - 1st Take
Running time - 101 minutes
Format - 4:3
Release Date - November 2014