‘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

MORTON PINKNEY LEVEL CROSSING 13 Replies

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…Continue

Started by Barry Taylor. Last reply by Barry Taylor on Sunday.

1959 rail tour 1 Reply

Also full details and timings of this tour on --rail tours 1959-- website with some nice photos of 45091

Started by ray w. Last reply by Simon Stevens Oct 1.

Sunday 9th August 1959 "Grafton " rail tour

Just found this ticket for above rail tour around East Midlands taking in Blisworth, Byfield and Woodford Halse, where 45091 was used. There is a fascinating account of this round trip from Kings Cross on the RCTS website Watford Branch Newsletter…Continue

Started by ray w Sep 29.

SMJ rides again? Broom to Stratford Greenway Proposal

From Bidford on Avon Parish council comes news of the Avon and Arrow Greenway Project whose latest newsletter is here: August 2020 AAGP…Continue

Started by Simon Stevens Sep 14.

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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!

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