I recently acquired a bundle of railway related papers, amongst which is a1955-6 BTC application to Parliament for various powers to construct works etc. Most are related to docks and waterways, but buried in the middle are a couple of references to the SMJ line.
One is obvious - the new curve at Stratford - although it is interesting to note that the process started as early as 1955-6, and also that the Honeybourne line is still referred to as the "Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway" !
The other is a little more obscure.
It refers to a "widening on the north east side of the bridge in the parish of Fenny Compton in the rural district of Southam carrying the railway between Broom and Byfield over the road leading from Fenny Compton to Byfield"
It's obvious which bridge this is, but does anyone know the nature of the work and why it was carried out?
Possibly it is something to do with the WR loop line, although the north east side of the bridge seems the wrong side for this.
Interestingly, there is no mention of the other works at Fenny to provide the through junction onto the SMJ which opened in 1960, along with the Stratford curve.
Possibly this did not need approval as it was wholly on railway owned land, and only involved track realignment.
The bridge widening was because the crossing loop was to be considerably extended (towards Kineton) and a third track - Up Reception Loop - added.
The new running junction - for the iron ore trains from Banbury OIC to south Wales - merely replaced the previous back-shunt siding connection between the two railways, within their existing limits of deviation thus needing no parliamentary powers.
You can see this from Tony Cooke's "Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR", Section 29, which covers the whole SMJ (third edition, 1994) - out of print but you might pick it up through second hand dealers (try Googling it...).
Many thanks for this - I should have realised the answer myself, but for some reason in my haste I overlooked the fact that there were in essence two bridges, and not one, under the line !!
I was therefore concentrating on the description "north east side" and expecting the widening to be over on the GW line.
A quick look at various photos showed the changes in the bridge over the SMJ line - quite obvious really.