‘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

2F WDs working to Bristol 3 Replies

In the 1950s/60s we had a regular working of a 2F Woodford Halse WD to Bristol. I was always intrigued by how they got there. Does anybody know if that was via the SMJR please?Continue

Started by Bob Bishop. Last reply by Bob Bishop yesterday.

DVD on the SMJ 2 Replies

HiI’m looking for a copy of the film “The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway” edited by Hillside Publishing some time ago.This company is now out of business and cannot be called upon to get a copy.If possible, I would wish to…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville. Last reply by David Mead Nov 24.

Talk to Welford Local History Society

I live in Welford on Avon which now incorporates the former Binton Station with its recent housing development.The local history society is currently planning its 2022/23 programme of events and talks and would be keen to include a talk on the…Continue

Started by John Read Oct 8.

Broom Junction station site for sale 2 Replies

Great opportunity for an SMJ enthusiast perhaps.  I'm not sure what you could actually do with this site though!…Continue

Started by Simon Stevens. Last reply by Simon Stevens Oct 4.

SMJ photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All
Does anyone know how the ironstone was worked from Blisworth on its way to South Wales? Some of the output went to Frodingham via Northampton, Mkt Harborough, Melton Mowbray etc but both Jordan and Tonks record that some went to South Wales during the 1950/60s - was it via Woodford West etc?

Views: 409

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

During the two great wars some ironstone trains went up the LNWR main line to Bletchley and then took a right onto the Oxford line and then at what the LNWR/LMS called 'Oxford Road Junction' (That box was re-named 'Banbury Road Jc' when a new box was built there after nationalisation (see my 'Heart of the Great Western) forked right for Yarnton Jc and then Down the Worcester to Kingham where they took a left and went west through to Gloucester Loop Jc (near Cheltenham) where they took a left down to Hatherly Jc on the Birmingham-Cheltenham-Gloucester line. From Hatherley they went along to Gloucester GW station through that to Chepstow, Severn Tunnel Jc and so to the steel works in the Newport area.
Hell of a difficult, expensive, roundabout route but whatever route they took that was going to be the case. I have spoken to Oxford locomen (long dead) who had worked ironstone from Yarnton to Hatherly Jc and Gloucester.
The ironstone trains arriving on the 'LNWR Loop' at Yarnton Jc were known to the Oxford (GW) men as 'the Irthlinboro's'.
The LNWR LOOP was the April 1854 double track main line of the Worcester - Euston run which was abandoned as a passenger line on 31 September 1861. But the route was always in use for freight between the LNW/LMR and GW/WR until about 1960. With these frieght links it is not wise to be definite about a date of disuse but in was hardly used by 1963 if at all. Of course the period of greatest use was during the two world wars. Some of the ironstone train went on beyond Kingham to Honeybourne where they had to be reversed for a mile and a half onto the North Warwickshire line to travel to Gloucester. And of course your returning empties had to do the same ting. This route was preferred to he Kingham - Stow-on-the-Wold line because the Toddinon line had the better gradients. The large triangular junction Wolvercote-Yarnton/Banbury Road and back down the hill on the LMR to Oxford was used to turn light engines in the rare event of the turntable at Oxfrord GW was out of use (after the LNWR shed at Rewley Rd. had closed) But this did happen. The double track 'Loop' was worked by the 'Pemissive Block' system and was equipped with two cross-overs worked by hand levers. The traffic coming across the Loop was usually heavy - iron ore or bricks. An LMS/LMR train arriving at Banbury Road Jc would be informed how far it could go along the Loop - whether there was already a train in front, on the Loop. Then it proceeded, either right through the signal protecting the Worcester line at Yarnton or to whichever crossover was clear before that. There were no signals - it as up to the train crew to sort matters out but of course they understood the system. On arrival at the cross-over the wagon brakes were pinned down, guard's brake firmly applied, engine uncoupled, draw ahead beyond the crossover, guard operates hand lever, engine comes back across, guard climbs aboard and back they go to the signal at Banbury Rd to await the signalman's pleasure.
I thought Yarnton/Banbury Road was a magic kind of place, a very ancient piece of railway history remote out in the fields north of Oxford.
Thanks for this, Adrian. I know that the ironstone traffic from Irthlingborough - on the LNW Blisworth - Peterborough line - went to S Wales via Bletchley, Bicester and Yarnton, but this ironstone came from the underground mines (not quarries) at Irthlingborough. Mining ironstone underground was quite unusual, normally it was quarried in this area. However, I do not know whether these workings included the traffic from Blisworth - I suspect not, but do not know for certain. Arthur Jordan in his work on the SMJ records that large quantities of ironstone were being transported over the line to S Wales in the 1950/60s - fulfilling at last the purpose of the railway. From other sources I understand that the output from Byfield (on the SMJ) and Charwelton (on the GC) went north to Shotton or sometimes the Potteries, or the Sheffileld area.
So, was the Blisworth output destined for S Wales tripped to Woodford and then staged from there over the SMJ? There were several workings each day from Woodford to S Wales utilising the SMJ route.

adrian vaughan said:
The ironstone trains arriving on the 'LNWR Loop' at Yarnton Jc were known to the Oxford (GW) men as 'the Irthlinboro's'.
The LNWR LOOP was the April 1854 double track main line of the Worcester - Euston run which was abandoned as a passenger line on 31 September 1861. But the route was always in use for freight between the LNW/LMR and GW/WR until about 1960. With these frieght links it is not wise to be definite about a date of disuse but in was hardly used by 1963 if at all. Of course the period of greatest use was during the two world wars. Some of the ironstone train went on beyond Kingham to Honeybourne where they had to be reversed for a mile and a half onto the North Warwickshire line to travel to Gloucester. And of course your returning empties had to do the same ting. This route was preferred to he Kingham - Stow-on-the-Wold line because the Toddinon line had the better gradients. The large triangular junction Wolvercote-Yarnton/Banbury Road and back down the hill on the LMR to Oxford was used to turn light engines in the rare event of the turntable at Oxfrord GW was out of use (after the LNWR shed at Rewley Rd. had closed) But this did happen. The double track 'Loop' was worked by the 'Pemissive Block' system and was equipped with two cross-overs worked by hand levers. The traffic coming across the Loop was usually heavy - iron ore or bricks. An LMS/LMR train arriving at Banbury Road Jc would be informed how far it could go along the Loop - whether there was already a train in front, on the Loop. Then it proceeded, either right through the signal protecting the Worcester line at Yarnton or to whichever crossover was clear before that. There were no signals - it as up to the train crew to sort matters out but of course they understood the system. On arrival at the cross-over the wagon brakes were pinned down, guard's brake firmly applied, engine uncoupled, draw ahead beyond the crossover, guard operates hand lever, engine comes back across, guard climbs aboard and back they go to the signal at Banbury Rd to await the signalman's pleasure.
I thought Yarnton/Banbury Road was a magic kind of place, a very ancient piece of railway history remote out in the fields north of Oxford.
I always thought but am probably wrong that ironore from the Blisworth area went out via the exchange sidings at Blisworth and not for any distance along the SMJ. The Byfield iron ore went out two ways. Some was collected from Byfield quarry exchange siding by the 'Woodford 'Around the World' working along with the Charwelton iron ore, then dispatched from Woodford via the Central. I think this may have gone out from Woodford via Banbury Yards in the latter years where it was combined with ore from other local quarries. There was also in the late 50s early 60s a (probably daily) SMJ iron ore working from Byfield to Blisworth which was always (2E) 8F powered. During the early hours these wagons would be taken on to the Stoke on Trent area from Blisworth's sidings. Is it possible that some of the Blisworth quarries output went out to the Stoke area as part of the same train as well? As for iron ore from Woodford along the SMJ I'm not sure, but I know there was a lot of scrap and pig iron taken to South Wales along that route. There a couple of people I'll get back to who might now more. Perhaps David Chambers can throw some light on this subject as well?
Dick
I can't really comment but I think the Blisworth ironstone always came to Blisworth yard, and not west along the SMJ. It may have gone back again as longer trains but I never saw any.

I'm surprised that the Kingham to Cheltenham route was used, as this was a very light weight line.

Assuming it reached Oxford, could bot the main GWR line via Didcot have been used?
I have spoken on phone to Charlie Dilkes ( ex 2E fireman) abiut Blisworth ironstone workings towards their end. He says that the ore went to Scunthorpe via Northampton and Market Harborough, with the Northampton crew relieved at Leicester. he also threw some light on the mysterious double motor Webb tank pictures as well, see separate discussion.

Dick
Hi Adrian,
I haven't got used to this forum yet, so forgive me if my attachment dosen't come through. I've often wondered why the iron ore from Irthlingborough Mine didn't go straight to Stratford instead of going to Rugby first. I'm not very knowledgeable about railways, but must get up to speed on this. I'm writing a Website on the mine. The attachment shows my record of the route, before & after Beaching :-( I think the info. is 'pukka' because it even gives the chainage used for calculating the freight charge before Beaching created THE GREAT TRAIN DISASTER.

adrian vaughan said:
The ironstone trains arriving on the 'LNWR Loop' at Yarnton Jc were known to the Oxford (GW) men as 'the Irthlinboro's'.
The LNWR LOOP was the April 1854 double track main line of the Worcester - Euston run which was abandoned as a passenger line on 31 September 1861. But the route was always in use for freight between the LNW/LMR and GW/WR until about 1960. With these frieght links it is not wise to be definite about a date of disuse but in was hardly used by 1963 if at all. Of course the period of greatest use was during the two world wars. Some of the ironstone train went on beyond Kingham to Honeybourne where they had to be reversed for a mile and a half onto the North Warwickshire line to travel to Gloucester. And of course your returning empties had to do the same ting. This route was preferred to he Kingham - Stow-on-the-Wold line because the Toddinon line had the better gradients. The large triangular junction Wolvercote-Yarnton/Banbury Road and back down the hill on the LMR to Oxford was used to turn light engines in the rare event of the turntable at Oxfrord GW was out of use (after the LNWR shed at Rewley Rd. had closed) But this did happen. The double track 'Loop' was worked by the 'Pemissive Block' system and was equipped with two cross-overs worked by hand levers. The traffic coming across the Loop was usually heavy - iron ore or bricks. An LMS/LMR train arriving at Banbury Road Jc would be informed how far it could go along the Loop - whether there was already a train in front, on the Loop. Then it proceeded, either right through the signal protecting the Worcester line at Yarnton or to whichever crossover was clear before that. There were no signals - it as up to the train crew to sort matters out but of course they understood the system. On arrival at the cross-over the wagon brakes were pinned down, guard's brake firmly applied, engine uncoupled, draw ahead beyond the crossover, guard operates hand lever, engine comes back across, guard climbs aboard and back they go to the signal at Banbury Rd to await the signalman's pleasure.
I thought Yarnton/Banbury Road was a magic kind of place, a very ancient piece of railway history remote out in the fields north of Oxford.
Attachments:
Re the Irthlingborough - Ebbw Vale Ironstone trains, there is a picture of the empties returning from S Wales in "Oxford to Cambridge Railway" Vol 1 page 46 (by Bill Simpson). This shows "a G2 0-8-0 bringing one of the regular Richard Thomas South Wales ore trains returning empty to Northamptonshire" The picture dates to "about 1932", so these ore trains were using this route many years before Dr Beeching was even heard of. I think that the Irthlingborough traffic went separately from that from Blisworth, as the output from Irthlingborough was enough to form a full trainload.

Robin

Alan J Pack said:
Hi Adrian,
I haven't got used to this forum yet, so forgive me if my attachment dosen't come through. I've often wondered why the iron ore from Irthlingborough Mine didn't go straight to Stratford instead of going to Rugby first. I'm not very knowledgeable about railways, but must get up to speed on this. I'm writing a Website on the mine. The attachment shows my record of the route, before & after Beaching :-( I think the info. is 'pukka' because it even gives the chainage used for calculating the freight charge before Beaching created THE GREAT TRAIN DISASTER.

adrian vaughan said:
The ironstone trains arriving on the 'LNWR Loop' at Yarnton Jc were known to the Oxford (GW) men as 'the Irthlinboro's'.
The LNWR LOOP was the April 1854 double track main line of the Worcester - Euston run which was abandoned as a passenger line on 31 September 1861. But the route was always in use for freight between the LNW/LMR and GW/WR until about 1960. With these frieght links it is not wise to be definite about a date of disuse but in was hardly used by 1963 if at all. Of course the period of greatest use was during the two world wars. Some of the ironstone train went on beyond Kingham to Honeybourne where they had to be reversed for a mile and a half onto the North Warwickshire line to travel to Gloucester. And of course your returning empties had to do the same ting. This route was preferred to he Kingham - Stow-on-the-Wold line because the Toddinon line had the better gradients. The large triangular junction Wolvercote-Yarnton/Banbury Road and back down the hill on the LMR to Oxford was used to turn light engines in the rare event of the turntable at Oxfrord GW was out of use (after the LNWR shed at Rewley Rd. had closed) But this did happen. The double track 'Loop' was worked by the 'Pemissive Block' system and was equipped with two cross-overs worked by hand levers. The traffic coming across the Loop was usually heavy - iron ore or bricks. An LMS/LMR train arriving at Banbury Road Jc would be informed how far it could go along the Loop - whether there was already a train in front, on the Loop. Then it proceeded, either right through the signal protecting the Worcester line at Yarnton or to whichever crossover was clear before that. There were no signals - it as up to the train crew to sort matters out but of course they understood the system. On arrival at the cross-over the wagon brakes were pinned down, guard's brake firmly applied, engine uncoupled, draw ahead beyond the crossover, guard operates hand lever, engine comes back across, guard climbs aboard and back they go to the signal at Banbury Rd to await the signalman's pleasure.
I thought Yarnton/Banbury Road was a magic kind of place, a very ancient piece of railway history remote out in the fields north of Oxford.
That's interesting about using the bletchley route before Beeching. I see the various routes are quite complicated so I think I'll leave it to the experts and not mention it in my history of the mine on the Web, A couple of years ago I was doing a talk to Rushden Historical Transport Soc. & I described the Rugby route as being used until Beeching closed it. Nobody took me up on that!! I was using a detailed list with chainages which was used to calculate the frieght charges in about 1918. I understand the charges were set by the railway that first took the traffic. If so, it was a bit hard on the GWR. The hard work came at the end, getting it up into Ebbw Vale from Rogerstone!! The Company wanted the railways to bring the wagons into the top of Ebbw Vale but they wouldn't hear of it because they said the track wasn't up to it.
Alan

Alan J Pack said:
Hi Adrian,
I haven't got used to this forum yet, so forgive me if my attachment dosen't come through. I've often wondered why the iron ore from Irthlingborough Mine didn't go straight to Stratford instead of going to Rugby first. I'm not very knowledgeable about railways, but must get up to speed on this. I'm writing a Website on the mine. The attachment shows my record of the route, before & after Beaching :-( I think the info. is 'pukka' because it even gives the chainage used for calculating the freight charge before Beaching created THE GREAT TRAIN DISASTER.

adrian vaughan said:
The ironstone trains arriving on the 'LNWR Loop' at Yarnton Jc were known to the Oxford (GW) men as 'the Irthlinboro's'.
The LNWR LOOP was the April 1854 double track main line of the Worcester - Euston run which was abandoned as a passenger line on 31 September 1861. But the route was always in use for freight between the LNW/LMR and GW/WR until about 1960. With these frieght links it is not wise to be definite about a date of disuse but in was hardly used by 1963 if at all. Of course the period of greatest use was during the two world wars. Some of the ironstone train went on beyond Kingham to Honeybourne where they had to be reversed for a mile and a half onto the North Warwickshire line to travel to Gloucester. And of course your returning empties had to do the same ting. This route was preferred to he Kingham - Stow-on-the-Wold line because the Toddinon line had the better gradients. The large triangular junction Wolvercote-Yarnton/Banbury Road and back down the hill on the LMR to Oxford was used to turn light engines in the rare event of the turntable at Oxfrord GW was out of use (after the LNWR shed at Rewley Rd. had closed) But this did happen. The double track 'Loop' was worked by the 'Pemissive Block' system and was equipped with two cross-overs worked by hand levers. The traffic coming across the Loop was usually heavy - iron ore or bricks. An LMS/LMR train arriving at Banbury Road Jc would be informed how far it could go along the Loop - whether there was already a train in front, on the Loop. Then it proceeded, either right through the signal protecting the Worcester line at Yarnton or to whichever crossover was clear before that. There were no signals - it as up to the train crew to sort matters out but of course they understood the system. On arrival at the cross-over the wagon brakes were pinned down, guard's brake firmly applied, engine uncoupled, draw ahead beyond the crossover, guard operates hand lever, engine comes back across, guard climbs aboard and back they go to the signal at Banbury Rd to await the signalman's pleasure.
I thought Yarnton/Banbury Road was a magic kind of place, a very ancient piece of railway history remote out in the fields north of Oxford.
Thanks again. Too compliated for me. Glad somebody knows a thing or two.

Alan J Pack said:
That's interesting about using the bletchley route before Beeching. I see the various routes are quite complicated so I think I'll leave it to the experts and not mention it in my history of the mine on the Web, A couple of years ago I was doing a talk to Rushden Historical Transport Soc. & I described the Rugby route as being used until Beeching closed it. Nobody took me up on that!! I was using a detailed list with chainages which was used to calculate the frieght charges in about 1918. I understand the charges were set by the railway that first took the traffic. If so, it was a bit hard on the GWR. The hard work came at the end, getting it up into Ebbw Vale from Rogerstone!! The Company wanted the railways to bring the wagons into the top of Ebbw Vale but they wouldn't hear of it because they said the track wasn't up to it.
Alan

Alan J Pack said:
Hi Adrian,
I haven't got used to this forum yet, so forgive me if my attachment dosen't come through. I've often wondered why the iron ore from Irthlingborough Mine didn't go straight to Stratford instead of going to Rugby first. I'm not very knowledgeable about railways, but must get up to speed on this. I'm writing a Website on the mine. The attachment shows my record of the route, before & after Beaching :-( I think the info. is 'pukka' because it even gives the chainage used for calculating the freight charge before Beaching created THE GREAT TRAIN DISASTER.

adrian vaughan said:
The ironstone trains arriving on the 'LNWR Loop' at Yarnton Jc were known to the Oxford (GW) men as 'the Irthlinboro's'.
The LNWR LOOP was the April 1854 double track main line of the Worcester - Euston run which was abandoned as a passenger line on 31 September 1861. But the route was always in use for freight between the LNW/LMR and GW/WR until about 1960. With these frieght links it is not wise to be definite about a date of disuse but in was hardly used by 1963 if at all. Of course the period of greatest use was during the two world wars. Some of the ironstone train went on beyond Kingham to Honeybourne where they had to be reversed for a mile and a half onto the North Warwickshire line to travel to Gloucester. And of course your returning empties had to do the same ting. This route was preferred to he Kingham - Stow-on-the-Wold line because the Toddinon line had the better gradients. The large triangular junction Wolvercote-Yarnton/Banbury Road and back down the hill on the LMR to Oxford was used to turn light engines in the rare event of the turntable at Oxfrord GW was out of use (after the LNWR shed at Rewley Rd. had closed) But this did happen. The double track 'Loop' was worked by the 'Pemissive Block' system and was equipped with two cross-overs worked by hand levers. The traffic coming across the Loop was usually heavy - iron ore or bricks. An LMS/LMR train arriving at Banbury Road Jc would be informed how far it could go along the Loop - whether there was already a train in front, on the Loop. Then it proceeded, either right through the signal protecting the Worcester line at Yarnton or to whichever crossover was clear before that. There were no signals - it as up to the train crew to sort matters out but of course they understood the system. On arrival at the cross-over the wagon brakes were pinned down, guard's brake firmly applied, engine uncoupled, draw ahead beyond the crossover, guard operates hand lever, engine comes back across, guard climbs aboard and back they go to the signal at Banbury Rd to await the signalman's pleasure.
I thought Yarnton/Banbury Road was a magic kind of place, a very ancient piece of railway history remote out in the fields north of Oxford.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2021   Created by Andy Thompson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service