‘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

Link to About my Area website article about the unveiling of Towcester sign

To read the article about the Towcester Running in sign being unveiled follow link below…Continue

Started by Dick Bodily Oct 18.

Coaches used on SMJ 1948-1952 1 Reply

   I was wondering if anybody could tell me what coaching stock was used on the SMJ between 1948-1952. I've started Building Byfield station building and managed to find basically what locos were used but coaches........? Can't seem to find…Continue

Started by Clive. Last reply by Steve Johns Oct 16.

Towcester station sign unvieling 1 Reply

The unveiling of the Towcester Station Sign!To all our Towcester area members. Can anyone make the following event in Towcester tomorrow representing the society?Quote:"We have decided to do the unveiling ceremony at 4pm tomorrow, Fri 11 Oct, at…Continue

Started by Andy Thompson. Last reply by Dick Bodily Oct 10.

Aircraft crash 2 Replies

HelloI’m intrigued by the statement found in Wikipedia08/12/1944 Wellington LN845 –C of 11 OTU overshot a forced landing at RAF Stratford and ran onto the railway at the end of the runway. The aircraft was only lightly damaged until it was hit by a…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville. Last reply by Jack Freuville Oct 8.

SMJ photos

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I have recently been transcribing the 1949 Freight Working Time Table for the SM&JR route  from copies taken of the volume in the National Archives into a spreadsheet, with the intent of merging this with the Passenger WTT for the same period so as to get a full picture of regular movements on the line in that period.

(Rail 912/8 Freight WTT BR LMR Midland Division, May 23rd to Sept 25th inclusive 1949)

Several of the time tabled movements refer to a motor trolley, running as follows.

Up Train 7

(a.m.) 

Byfield dep. 8: 5

Woodford West Junc dep. 8*10

Blakesley arr. 8*27

Blakesley dep. 8*29

Towcester arr. 8*39

Up train 9

Q: Runs when required

Kineton dep. 8 20

Burton Dassett arr. 8*28

Burton Dassett dep.8*30

Fenny Compton arr. 8 40

Down Train 9

Q: Runs when required

Kineton dep. 8:53

Ettington 9*01

Clifford Sidings 9:12

Down Train 11

Q: Runs when required

Byfield 9:15

Byfield Ironstone Sidings arr. 9:30

These, to my mind, raise a number of questions.

I've found te section on motor trolleys in Dick Bodilly's 'Last Year of the SMJ pickups' on this website...

Under "Breakdown's and inspections" it says...

"PW staff were still using a hand propelled trolley to travel to locations along the line in the early 50’s. Much earlier in SMJ and LMS days my grandfather used a bicycle type device, probably the one pictured in Jordan’s book.  A small petrol engine trolley took the place of the old ‘handpump’. It was stored at either Towcester or Byfield. Proper inspection trains were much less frequently seen and a variety of locos appeared on them ranging from Fowler 2Ps to modern BR Standard types."

Does this mean that these trolley workings (or possible their returns) were being used for PW inspections?

In the WTT they do not appear to have timetabled return workings. Does this mean that they travelled out as a timed path, but worked back inspecting the line in clear paths  as required?

As there are both an up and a down path from each of Byfield and Kineton, was it a case of 'either /or'? i.e. a single vehicle at each location, providing the up or the down or neither service as required.

Finally, was one vehicle stored at Kineton at this period, rather than Towcester? 

  

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During the war if not later there were still 'linesmen' daily walking sections. I recall regularly seeing the little motorised trolley passing Blakesley in the 50s. Often it had two or more PW men aboard. I got the impression that they were being taken to whereabouts they were working but could have been wrong. I never actually saw a loco hauled inspection train myself but other people did.

This photograph of a motorised trolley being man-handled to / from its home in the hut alongside the line was taken by H C Casserley at Byfield in June 1958, and so fits in with the 1949 WTT info.

I'm sure that earlier, and less substantial, trolleys could just be lifted on and off the line anywhere as required to allow trains to pass, but presumably these motorised versions would have been too heavy for that, so must have been parked up in sidings when the line needed to be cleared?

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the LMS introduced these motorised trolleys onto the SMJ in the 1930s, so Dick's mention of hand propelled versions still being used in the 1950s is interesting - perhaps they were used on shorter distance jobs?

Altogther an interesting subject  - I'd never considered them being included in WTT's at all !

There was a hut for a similar trolley at the Woodford Junction too. It is visible in contemporary photos and we found some evidence for the sleeper "road" too on our "Tour" (Was that really 5 years ago now??)

I have S&T Documents dated 24/2/42 relating to Proposed widening Stratford-on-Avon - Clifford Sidings which show Kineton as home station of the  " Flying Gang" the term used for the P.W. So at this period the trolley was based  at Kineton. At what date the Motor economic  system continued to I don't know but the Gangers  Key Occupation  instruments were still around at closure. The sections went from Kineton Station in each direction so two occupation instruments were provided.  Also I seem to recollect that a hut was provided for the trolley at Kineton. 


Regarding the hut, a diagram I have seen has a building marked as a P Way Garage close to the track. I suspect this is the motor trolley hut, although one photograph appears to show a hut on the opposite side of the track from that shown in the diagam.


alwyn sparrow said:

I have S&T Documents dated 24/2/42 relating to Proposed widening Stratford-on-Avon - Clifford Sidings which show Kineton as home station of the  " Flying Gang" the term used for the P.W. So at this period the trolley was based  at Kineton. At what date the Motor economic  system continued to I don't know but the Gangers  Key Occupation  instruments were still around at closure. The sections went from Kineton Station in each direction so two occupation instruments were provided.  Also I seem to recollect that a hut was provided for the trolley at Kineton. 

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