‘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

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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

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Blisworth 1920

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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

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Some time ago we ahd an interesting and lively discussion on the mystery station at Tiffield, which added quite a lot to our collective knowledge.

I've recently been looking closely at two of the other mystery stations- at North End (sometimes Northend) and Warwick Road-or were they one and the same perhaps?


The essential reference for station opening/closing dates now seems to be M.E. Quicks large tome and its various supplements.

This gives (info taken from from Bradshaw timetables only):

Warwick Road - first in ttable Dec 1871/ last in ttable June 1873

North End - First in ttable Aug 1872, through to June 1873 / then April 1874 to "closure"1st Aug 1877 -it's thought that the gap from June 1873 to April 1874 is probably just an error in the ttable and it was in fact continuous

I have done considerable research at both Kew and in local newspapers of the period, and the following items/dates are interesting-


3rd June 1871 -Inspecting Officer of Board of Trade report of opening from Fenny to Kineton- description of the two terminal stations, but no mention of others.

17th June 1871- newspaper report of a trip along the new line by a member of the public- remarks about the station facilities etc but again no mention of North End or Warwick Road

5th August 1871 - newspaper announcement of the Kineton Floral & Horticultural Show-mentions specila train at 9pm for North End and Kineton-so North End obviously existed then, well before the date shown by Quick, and also before the date shown for Warwick Road


We then move on to 1873- 

24th May 1873- Warwickshire Field Club party went by train to North End for an outing

13th Aug 1873- Kineton Horticultural Society show - "patrons can return to Ettington and Stratford only by the 9.14pm train or by special train to other stations at 9.15pm, which will call at North End at 9.25pm"


26th and 27th June 1873 the Board of Trade inspected the full length of the new line throughout from Greens Norton to Stratford. describes all of the stations, including "those previously open at Fenny Compton and Kineton" - but very strangely no mention of either North End or Warwick Road

A press report of this opening is also very interesting- the newspaper comments that "the previous short section of railway has been very accommodating.....each train carried its own booking office...simplicity of arrangement....trains stopped for passengers when they appeared" and adding that it was hoped that the full opening would not change this.

The report does however mention that " pick up platforms are to be introduced" which would be useful for picnic parties etc. However it does not state where.


Then an apparent last mention-

10th March 1877- Auction of cows and heifers - " trains will stop at North End Siding" - note the use of the word siding


I have also looked at the monthly timetables in the Leamington Spa papers over the period-there is never any mention of either North End or Warwick Road stations.

Warwick Road is never mentioned in the local press.


So -what can we deduce from all of this?

It is strange that both of the Board of Trade inspections do not mention either station, even though their existence is otherwise confirmed by the newspaper items.

Were they just goods sidings where passengers could alight unofficially?

Were there in fact two stations anyway, or just one that was known by a different name at various times?


Riley and Simpson, in their book on the SMJ, do suggest that they were one and the same place. They say that Warwick Road/Burton Dassett opened, with the line, in 1871 and closed in 1873 (this matches Quick's info) but that North End siding then opened in the same place in March 1885(obviously in existence much earlier)


Food for thought - does anyone further information, or access to early 25" Ordnance Survey maps of the area around the 1870's that might help ?









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Photos of the SMJ structures at Fenny Compton Station also had this scalloped wooden canopy edging, identical to that shown for Kineton and Burton Dassett. Does this imply early East & West Junction Railway architecture for this area?

Information regarding the stations at Fenny Compton and Burton Dassett. The E&WJR had intended goods traffic from the Northampton area to be exchanged at Stratford on Avon (GWR). However the GWR insisted that this happened at Fenny Compton, so this station had a greater importance that did not reflect it's rural location. Photos of the SMJ structure at Fenny Compton show it to be divided into a waiting room and a storage facility with double doors at the end. Burton Dassett Platform shows a combined storage facility, with double doors, and an office. Kineton had a large goods depot, and was for 2 years the western terminus and headquarters of the E&WJR.

This raises a number of questions;

Was the waiting room at Fenny Compton as built with storage facility, or was it converted later?

Why was there a large goods depot at Kineton village? (Again, an importance that did not reflect it's rural location).

It's logical that Kineton,and Fenny should have the same early scalloped edge bargeboards on the structures as these two were opened together in 1871-although the first building at Fenny was burned down around 1874 and rebuilt, but I guess early enough to still be in the same style.

Looking either side of these places the 1873 buildings have different details. Burton Dassett is the anomaly - it is in the early style but we don't seem to know exactly when the building dates from. If it did go back as far as 1871/3-which the style perhaps suggests- then we have a different question - was it part of the "lost" Warwick Road site?

As for the size of the facilities at Fenny and Kineton - Fenny was intended to be much bigger and the question of exchange of traffic with the GWR is a very long discussion in itself !

There was to be a large joint station at Fenny with four platforms and a footbridge joining the two railways-plans were drawn up for this around 1873. There was also to be a through running connection from the EWJ for the exchange of traffic, instead of the simple shunt-siding.

But...... the EWJ and GW fell out very early on - the joint station never moved forward and the simple siding remained until 1960. The problem was iron ore - the EWJ has visions of many train loads from Northamptonshire travelling all the way to Stratford before being handed to the GW to go on to S. Wales.

The GW wanted a bigger "mileage share" and to take it over at Fenny. In the end it went to arbitration by the Railway Commissioners and ended in a compromise, but by then much of the traffic had disappeared anyway - ore was coming in more cheaply from Spain.

I'll check my notes on the Fenny storage shed-I'm sure there was s particular purpose for this. As for Kineton I think that the more extensive facilities were just due to quite a large agricultural traffic from the surrounding area. Another interesting point is that there was an "engine house" there for two years when first opened in 1871.

Barry Taylor said:

As for Kineton I think that the more extensive facilities were just due to quite a large agricultural traffic from the surrounding area. Another interesting point is that there was an "engine house" there for two years when first opened in 1871.

At a guess, the large goods shed was used as a grain store, and presumably the EWJR made a little bit by charging rent for this?

As for the "engine house" at Kineton, I had always wondered - the sidings on the down side always hinted at this. Have you found any mention of where it was actually located?


Looking at maps dated 1885 and 1904, they show that the goods shed, with it's internal platform, had a strange outline (not square). Both up and down sidings, with their headshunt, were originally long, then were lengthened at the same time as the platforms were lengthened, and a cattle dock incorporated. The new part of the platforms was higher than the original to cope with new coaching stock. Mention is made of a coal yard, near to the goods shed, and there was a gas works in the village. The up platform passenger waiting room was replaced by a larger building. There is a photo (on ebay at the moment) of Kineton Station, the track is being ballasted, but on the down platform there is a raised section, presumably before the platforms were extended? The SMJ would transport the Warwickshire Hunt, the headquarters being in nearby Little Kineton, which lead to the purchase of a hound van.

Raised platforms were quite common in Victorian time and were used for loading horse boxes, milk churns, etc. Passengers have legs and can use steps. Although horses have legs, they need persuading. Milk churns don't have legs.

Whether this was the case at Kineton, I do not know.

Seems likely that horses were loaded at this station, as the hound van together with a number of horse boxes were kept in the sidings here, in SMJ days. No mention of the "engine house", though.

Entries found in a later version of C.R.CLINKER'S REGISTER;

North End EWJ Closed (Passengers) 1st Aug 1877 Note 2621

Previously closed 6/1873, Re-Opened 4/1874 UNCONFIRMED.

Burton Dassett Siding SMJ (GOODS ONLY) Note 4370 Disused

from c.1918 but NO formal closure announced.

* except private sidings still open at date of station closure including

new sidings opened after station closure.

Warwick Road EWJ CLOSED (PASSENGERS) 6/1873 Note 3594

Burton Dassett Platform (Unadvertised) Opened SAME SITE 1/12/1909

This is the only mention of Burton Dassett Platform, it does not have it's

own entry in the register.


It is thought that the apparent closure of North End from 6/1873 to 4/1874 was an editorial error by Bradshaws and it just got missed out of the timetable.

I hope to get down to Kew this month to see for myself whether North End and Warwick Road both appear together in the same timetables for a period, as the dates suggest that they should.

As far as Burton Dassett is concerned I have another source which states-

Quarries opened c 1865 - output by road cart to Fenny Compton GWR

Aerial ropeway down to a siding on EWJR at Burton Dassett c 1873- in use to 1875

Ropeway rebuilt and reopened again 1894 (or 1895)

Out of use 1909-18 and the reopened again but finally abandoned 1921

Burton Dassett public siding and platform (unadvertised) opened 1/12/1909-used by staff working private siding, so probably closed when quarries abandoned.

Reopened WW2 for use of civilians at WD depot

Also states that the site of Warwick Road station was on the down side east of the bridge but was later obscured by the loop

So overall much the same as other reports apart from the apparent confirmation of Warwick Road.

I still have a slight nagging feeling that Warwick Road and North End might have been one and the same place, particularly as there was an early siding at B Dassett, and that North End is described as "siding" in early newspapers. However.....................

Thinking about this over Xmas, I looked at the travelling times between Fenny Compton and Kineton.

We have an 1874 excursion and, amongst others, the 1909 working timetable. The travelling time for a passenger train between those two place is 14 minutes in both cases (strange that it didn't vary over those years).

There are no passing times at B Dassett in the Working TT, but the excursion called at North End 5 minutes after leaving Fenny C.

Taking an average mph for the 6miles 31ch from Fenny to Kineton (this does vary in different accounts but I've used the WTT) then the 5 minutes to North End puts that station roughly 2 miles 27ch after Fenny C.

We do know that B Dassett was just over 3 miles from Fenny C, so that seems to suggest that North End was definitely located further east along the line, just about where we thought, on the footpath to the north of the village.

I know that I'm only using average speeds etc but it suggests to me that we are looking for two separate stations - hopefully a visit to Kew will confirm.

Finally got down to Kew last week, and ruined my eyesight peering at old Bradshaw timetables!

I've looked at the tt's from 1871 through to 1874, and they do support the dates that we have already been kicking around between us, but there are some interesting points.

Firstly - and just going back to a previous discussion for a moment - Tiffield appears in the Jan and Feb 1871 tt's. It is listed in the usual way between Blisworth and Towcester, but instead of showing a time, there is just the legend "B" with a footnote then stating " Stops to take up by passenger's own signal, and set down on notice being given at Towcester or Blisworth"

Tiffield then disappears from the tt's after that date.

Warwick Road  - appears Dec 1871 onwards, but not in the usual timetable format between Fenny and Kineton - it just has a footnote stating " All trains between 7 morn and 6 aft stop by signal at Warwick Road".

In April it is listed between Fenny and Kineton in the tt but with no times, just the legend "A" which indicates "Stops by signal"

This continues right through to August 1872 when it is joined by North End - both are shown between Fenny and Kineton, but again with "A" - all but the last train of the day stop.

This situation then goes right through to June 1873 unchanged apart from some variation in train times.

July 1873 has no ttable at all, but indicates "this line will open on 1st inst. and trains will run through between Blisworth and Stratford - for particulars see loose slip (not present!)

Then August to March 1874 there is no mention of either station in tt's

April 1874 neither are listed, but a footnote states "North End-the trains will stop by signal" - this then continues at least as far as the end of 1874 - I didn't get any further but presumably North End then disappears a few years later as stated elsewhere.

So - where does that get us?

Certainly there must have been two stations as they do both appear together for a while.

The problem of why they do not get a mention in the Inspection reports at the opening of the line in 1871, and then again when opened throughout in 1873, still remains unanswered.  OK - Warwick Rd doesn't appear in tt's until Dec 1871 which is after the first inspection - and then they are both strangely absent from the tables when the second inspection occurred in 1873..........?

They also don't get a mention in a contemporary report of a journey down the line shortly after the first opening, or in newspaper timetables - again strange.

My feeling is that they were probably goods sidings, where it was possible to join / leave a train - the Inspecting Officer was not concerned with goods facilities, just passengers. North End does get a mention as "North End siding" in one report, and we know that there was an early siding at Burton Dassett anyway, probably on the same site as Warwick Road. The growth in the use of B Dassett siding might account for Warwick Road "station" disappearing ?


Thanks for all your hard work at Kew. It does look like there were two stations.

One thing I don't get is that North End and Warwick Road appear to be the wrong way round. Surely, after leaving Kineton, Warwick Road would be the first station reached and then North End.

I suppose it could simply be a printing error.


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