‘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.

SMJ photos

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Please find attached a copy of the OS 6" map 1888 - 1913 series that illustrates the subject cable-way (called a tramway on the map) and also the Burton Dassett sidings. This cable-way is mentioned by Arthur Jordan in hos book on the SMJ at pp45, he does discuss the question of man-riding! I understand but have no details that there was a fatal accident at Northend involving the cable-way (man-riding?).


Dave Hayward

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Hi Dave

Eric Tonks included an excellent chapter on this topic in his book, ‘Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands, Part 2, The Oxfordshire Field’.

Its interesting that while it appears on the 1888-1913 OS map, the aerial ropeway does not appear on the 1881-1890 1:2500 or the 1883-1889 1:10560 first edition series maps, even though we know it was in use by then. It just goes to show the time lag at that time between gathering data and publishing the actual maps.

The Burton Hill Iron Ore Co appear to have been renting railway wagons from as early as January 1871, which would suggest that the aerial ropeway was in active use (on and off) from the moment the EWJR was opened for commercial operation. Although the exact closure date is not certain, the last recorded use seems to be 1925. I say ‘on and off’ because the quarries at Burton Dassett were not in constant use throughout this period, and the ropeway fell into a fairly bad state of disrepair.

I’ve attached an image of the ‘cage’ that protected the public from falling debris where the ropeway crossed the road at North End. Tonks refers to the practice of taking a ride in the buckets, but I don’t recall him referring to a fatality, so I’d be really grateful if you could point me in the direction of your source for that information. I wonder if the fatality occurred before or after the cage/bridge was constructed.



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