‘The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway’ (or S.M.J.) was a small independent railway company which ran a line across the empty, untouched centre of England. It visited the counties of Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and a little of Buckinghamshire, only existing as the SMJ from 1909 to 1923. In 1923 the S.M.J.became a minor arm of the London Midland and Scottish (L.M.S.), then in 1948 'British Railways' 

Gone but not forgotten: "the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth"


SMJ Forum

Funny Story about Kineton Military Railway 1 Reply

An improbable, funny, but absolutely true story relating to the Kineton military railway.Long after my Army days I still retained an affection and passing interest in Kineton ammunition depot where I served during the 1960s. Coupled to a 'love' of…Continue

Started by Dave Hayward. Last reply by Dave Hayward Apr 28.

Blisworth - Towcester ETS working

Electric train staff equipment had been brought into use between Blisworth and Towcester by 9 August 1910 (date of SMJR minute 451 (TNA file RAIL 674/3)) and presumably the new signal box at Blisworth appeared at the same time. In that this was so…Continue

Started by Richard Maund Apr 20.

Blisworth 1920

SMJ board minute 1474 of 13 April 1921 (TNA file RAIL 674/4) approved that “the following expenditure be charged to Capital” for year 1920: “Blisworth: Signalling and alterations to Permanent Way, Improvements and additional signalling: £800”. In…Continue

Started by Richard Maund Apr 20.

Evesham Redditch & Stratford-upon-Avon Junction Railway 8 Replies

Did this railway (as opposed to the East & West Junction Railway) go into receivership - if so, when. And when did it come out of receivership?Continue

Started by Richard Maund. Last reply by Richard Maund Feb 11.

SMJ photos

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Shall we bring this discussion under the proper heading!

So far as the OS plan surveyed 1885, published 1886, is concerned: the OS liked - wherever they could  - to have text running parallel to the top and bottom borders. When they came to add the brick works and its autumn 1879 siding I suspect they simply put the 'Bidford Siding' name in the nearest available space that didn't conflict with any other lines on the plan. However,  the 25 inch version is more illuminating as it does more clearly show the passenger platform than the 6 inch version -  to see the 25" at full size go to  https://maps.nls.uk/view/115636466w.

So far as the siding behind the platform is concerned, that must have introduced a point on the running line, west of the station, which would have called for a Board of Trade inspection: where is the date for such inspection?

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A specific date is now available for the passenger opening: Thursday 17 February 1881. See Stratford upon Avon Herald  25 March 1881, page 8.

Re-reading that Herald piece in issue of 25 March 1881: "17th ult" means 'last Thursday' not 17th of last month - so Bidford passenger opening date was Thursday 17 March 1881. That ties in with the railway's advert for the new facility in that same issue of the Herald.

Although the platform's there in the 1885 OS 25" survey, there's no sign of the siding behind it - so the siding must have appeared later.....

I think that we can now agree that there was definitely a siding behind Bidford station platform?

The problem is dating the photograph. I have two prints in front of me as I write, both with info on the reverse.

One has, in two different hands, the following:

'facing Stratford c1910' and also 'stamped'  'R Carpenter Photos copy neg - (pencilled) 'copy of R Rockerby (sic) photograph now marketed by Stations UK Ref RR1203'

The other has:(Stamped) 'D Thompson 7 Norfolk Road Bury St Edmunds - (pencilled) '18/8/1927 Book 12/3' - So part of the  Rokeby / Thompson collection.

I think the 1927 date very unlikely, and c1910 is more possible.

In the 1940s the track layout at Blisworth SMJ was amended, but the usual inspection was not carried out until several years later owing to, presumably, a lack of personnel during WW2. ( I have more precise details but not relevant here). Could the same have applied at Bidford during WW1?

If the siding was added just prior to, or even during WW1, might the required inspection have been deferred - but by the time that resources were available to carry it out, the siding had been disconnected anyway (old Brickworks siding being used instead or traffic no longer available)?


Having done their initial deal with Lill in 1909 for use of the brickworks site for public traffic (the alterations for which apparently were reported to the BoT), why would the SMJ subsequently bother to go to the expense of a new siding and ground frame the opposite side of the road bridge in ca. 1916? (there's no apparent  reference to such siding in the 1916 appendix). And why then change horses yet again and go for the revamped goods yard at the brickworks a mere three years later in 1919?

It is quite correct (certainly for the major companies) that work undertaken in wartime was often given a preliminary approval subject to subsequent inspection. But all the ones I've looked at elsewhere seem to have got inspected eventually - as Mount did elsewhere (but not Bidford)  on the SMJ in his two-day tour in April 1926. I'm still looking for any relevant BoT paperwork at Kew relating to such siding at Bidford-on-Avon (the 1919 work did not, I think, affect the main running line, hence not reportable).

What also seems shrouded in mystery is when and why Bidford became a block post in the train staff & ticket-controlled section between Stratford SMJ and Broom Jn. - in other words, the block post that the LMS abolished in 1931. This, too, post-dates the 1916 appendix. Why did such an additional block post (without crossing facilities, of course) become deemed to be necessary? And when? And why was it no longer necessary from 1931?

The brickworks owner has wrongly been identified  (Taylor vol. 2, p.10) as Lill - according to 1901 Census details he was Edward J Sill (with an 'S') - and the SMJ minute book confirms that spelling.

Richard Maund said:

Having done their initial deal with Lill in 1909 for use of the brickworks site for public traffic ....

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