We recently looked at the railway navvies that laid the tracks through Hampshire and Dorset, but today we turn our attention to the men who manned it once it was built.

Back then a job was often for life - just as long as one followed the rules and avoided trouble.

When it came to supporting a family, working on the railway was as secure as it could get.

One of these men was Thomas Victor "Vic" Beale, who worked on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway for 49 years.

In 1899, he was employed by the company as a weigher at Highbridge Wharf, earning eight shillings a week.

As he progressed through the ranks, he became station foreman at Blandford Forum, which he held until he retired in 1948.

As he progressed up the ladder, he worked as a number taker and checker at Highbridge Goods, a porter at Burnham-on-Sea, and, from May 1907, a warehouseman at Blandford.

It was there that he met and married Edith Pratt, one of two daughters of Elizabeth Pratt and the late Frederick Pratt, who were the licensees of the Railway Hotel at the time.

It was only nine months after their marriage when Vic was appointed station foreman after an unfortunate accident to Arthur Richards, who was crushed between a van and the loading dock.

Splendour of the Somerset & Dorset Railway, an old book written by Vic’s grandson Mike Beale, explores the story as well as several others, combining social history and personal recollections with pictures for true rail enthusiasts The photographs involve the much-loved and long-lamented railway line, which closed to traffic on March 6, 1966.

Among this collection are classics and rarities, such as former GWR saddletank No 1360 that was shunted to Milldown Sidings near Blandford and used as a stationary boiler.

Another photo shows the last Pines Express to use the line being pulled out of Poole station by 92220 Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways.

In addition, there is an S&DJR Bulldog class engine No 62 waiting at Bournemouth West to be signalled away.