‘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"


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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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There was a public level crossing between Blakesley and Morton Pinkney, complete with a gatehouse.

Does anyone know how this was operated?

Presumably the gates must have been manual and kept closed against road traffic.

Early Working Timetables mention the distant signals on either side which were "connected" to the gates, and that drivers must be prepared to either reduce speed or stop

Does this mean that they were interlocked so that the gates could not be opened unless the signals were cleared?

How was the gatehouse manned - I've never seen a photo so did it include accommodation for a crossing keeper, or was it simply just a shelter?

Any thoughts  - or better still a photo !

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 I have found another reference to Morton Pinkney Gatehouse Crossing in Bill Kendall's recollections of the area - he was around from the 1930s onwards and these have been published in articles in  'British Railways Journal' (on Towcester and Blisworth) and other places.

He notes that-

'At Moreton Pinkney there was another member of the staff, Mrs Higgs, a female crossing keeper at the Gate House.  The gates at this one room up, one room down brick cottage backed straight on to the track and the gates operated up and down distant signals.  

I remember the first time I was booked for holiday relief at the Gate House at Morton Pinkney.  When I arrived, Mrs Higgs refused to have her holidays, saying that she had not been advised of same.  But when I did do these duties for a week, including Sunday, I never once opened the gates.  I expect this was due to the fact that it was in the summer, so no cattle were being moved at that period and no hunting was on'.

This provides interesting detail of the building itself - a proper brick-built job- and the signals being interlocked with the gates. Also that it seems to have been permanently manned, rather than just sending someone along as and when required to open up, and this was presumably the case right up to closure of the line? Mr Higgs would probably have been a local p-way man and his wife the gatekeeper - the usual arrangement on the railways.

Seems that it was for the use of the local farmers as well as the Hunt.

All we need now is a photo..................

Ian Merivale said:

A chap called Guy Higgs used to live in the crossing keepers house in the late 50's early 60's!

This is fascinating stuff.

It's a shame that no photograph has turned up but hardly surprising, considering the remoteness of the location. 

Assuming the gateman's lodge was constructed at the same time as the station, I think we may reasonably assume that it was built in the same general style as the station: red brick, pointy 'gothic' window and door frames, with polychromatic red and blue bricks above the window and door openings --- and as cheaply as possible. 

Looking at other gatekeepers' lodges on Google Images and at the standard design used on the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway )another hard-up local railway of the same era), it would be easy enough to sketch up a likely design that few people could argue with.

Just two questions if anyone knows:

1. Was the building on one or two levels?

1. Did its longer dimension lie parallel with the tracks? (Looking at the OS 25-inch plan, I think it must have done.)

It must have been a lonely existence there!

Regards,

Andrew Emmerson.    

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