The Somerset and Dorset Railway was formed by the merger of the Dorset Central Railway and the Somerset Central Railway. The word 'Joint' was added to the company name, when the railway was let on a 999 year lease to the Midland Railway and the London and South Western Railway in 1875.
At first, the Midland maintained the engines and the LSWR the rolling stock, track and signalling. Eventually the rolling stock was divided between the two owners, leaving only the locomotives displaying the company name. On grouping in 1923 the Midland was absorbed into the London Midland and Scottish Railway, and the LSWR into the Southern Railway. The S&DJR continued as a separate concern until 1928 when the remaining engines were taken in to stock by the LMS.
The county borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east and Hampshire to the east.
In the 12th century civil war Dorset was fortified with the construction of the defensive castles at Corfe Castle, Powerstock, Wareham and Shaftesbury, and the strengthening of the monasteries such as at Abbotsbury.
Dorset is famed in literature for being the native county of author and poet Thomas Hardy.
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