‘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

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.

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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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A reference by R. Butt in The Directory of Railway Stations concerning Warwick Road / Burton Dassett.

1st June 1871 opens as Warwick Road,  June 1873 closed.

1st December 1909 re-opened as Burton Dassett Platform, c.1912 closed.

c.1933 opens as Burton Dassett Halt,  c.1946 closed.

Another reference by R. Butt in The Directory of Railway Stations states that North End station was opened 1st June 1871, closed June 1873. Then re-opened April 1874 until final closure 1st August 1877, this was because passenger services were suspended between Blisworth and Stratford-on-Avon from 31st July 1877 until restored in 1885. Seems strange that SMJR passenger timetables dated 1910 do not list Burton Dassett Sdg., yet it was advertised from 1st Dec 1909, and also appears in a 1908 timetable under the E & W Jcn & Stratford-on-Avon, Towcester & Midland Junction Railways. Unless you know different.

Seems as though almost all of the date references to both stations come up with the same details- I think probably from Clinker originally, and then carried forward to the Butt, Quick etc publications.

North End was undoubtedly open after June 1873, as seen in the earlier posts on this discussion, and I have just come up with another reference. On 16 May 1874 the EWJR advertised special excursion fares from Northampton, Blisworth, Towcester etc to Stratford, Evesham Worcester Shrub Hill and Malvern, on the Whit Monday Bank Holiday 25th May. The timetable actually lists North End as a calling point at 8.50am - this is the first and only time so far that I've seen North End in anything like a proper timetable!

So far it hasn't turned up in any official EWJR or newspaper timetable listings, which seems so strange as we have plenty of evidence of it being a passenger stop.

Warwick Road does not appear anywhere at all so far, either in timetables or newspaper articles etc - only  in the various books that have been mentioned.

Burton Dassett is, I think, an entirely separate issue. As far as I know it was never a "public"station, but was served by trains at various times for workers at the ironstone mines - of course mining there was very much an on and off situation over the years.

I'm interested in your reference to it appearing in a 1908 EW&SMJR timetable - is this a public timetable or working tt?

I'll have a bit more of a scratch around in my notes.

The timetable is, according to A. Jordan in his book The SMJR The Shakespeare Route, a Working Timetable, dated January 1908 and issued by the E & W Jcn & S-on-A, T & M J R's. It also gives distances, and Burton Dassett siding is  25 miles 46 chains from Blisworth Station, or 35 miles 32 chains from Olney, on the down side. On the up side it is 20 miles 6 chains from Broom. He also goes on to say this company amalgamated with the E, R & S-on-A J R to form the SMJ in August of that year.....a mistake as the SMJ was formed in January 1909.

Gunpowder wagon label with reference to Burton Dassett Sidings, LMS Section via Fenny Compton.

Interesting to note that this label was dated to the early 1960's.

The 1908 working timetable issued by the E & W JCN & S-on-A, T & M JCN RLY's listing BURTON DASSETT SDG. Also of interest is the stop at the Brick Works between Towcester and Stoke Bruerne on the Ravenstone Wood Jcn line.

The sidings were still active with goods in latter days as these wagon labels show.

There is another reference to Burton Dassett sidings, in a working SMJR timetable dated October 1911.

However there is a discrepancy between the 1908 timetable as to the mileages, especially from Olney & Blisworth.

Jan 1908 (E& W JCN RLY)                               Oct 1911 (SMJR)            Difference 

 20 miles 6 chains            BROOM  (UP)           20 miles 8 chains              2 chains

 35 miles 32 chains         OLNEY  (DOWN)        35 miles  39 chains           7 chains

 25 miles 46 chains      BLISWORTH (DOWN)    25 miles  53 chains           7 chains

So did the SMJR extend the sidings, or could they have measured the distances at a different point at the sidings ?


R A Cooke's Track Layout Diagrams of the SMJ show the easternmost groundframe consistently through this period at MP 25½ from Blisworth - near enough to the 25m 46ch figure.

However, the ironstone company had a rather erratic existence, and seems to have only been working in 1908, and then totally abandoned by 1911, before coming back again later on. I just wonder if the SMJ took the eastern GF out of use and operated the siding from the western end although 25m 53ch does put the siding well the other side of the road bridge.

Alwyn's wagon labels are also interesting, particularly as the Burton Dassett "wharf" sidings seemed to have disappeared in the late 1950's and one of the labels is 1964. I would guess that they were still using the old name for the destination, even though the traffic was actually for the MOD depot- the "Pure Rock Asphalt" suggests that it was for construction work there, as the depot was constantly being developed.

Going back to some extent to the original discussion about Warwick Road / North End - does anyone know just when the building at Burton Dassett platform dates from? It doesn't appear to be shown on the 1880's OS 25" maps, although there seems to be an indentation shown in the embankment at that point. The reason that I raise this point is that the scalloped wooden canopy edging on the front of the building in early views is identical to that shown on Kineton station in the very early photos. (presumably the opening day in 1871). Does this suggest that the B Dassett building is of the same age, or did they just have a bit of the same material left in stock for use later?

Just to add a possible last use for passengers I have extracted this information from the booklet" C.A.D. Kineton 1942-1992"

June 1943-The first recreational train from Burton Dasset siding to Leamington Spa took 500 servicemen into town.

Whether they embarked from the platform is not clear but possible.


I was very interested to see mention of this book as I was at Kineton from 62 - 64 & again from Dec 66 - 69 when I was in the Army. I located this book on a site called Tzarmedia which I am very dubious about as they want my card details for a free download! Other users of this site have given it a bad reference for possible fraud.

Can you please tell me where you got your copy from or do you have an electronic copy you could send me please. I checked another site and it appears it is now out of print.


Dave Hayward

NIGEL said:

Gunpowder wagon label with reference to Burton Dassett Sidings, LMS Section via Fenny Compton.

Interesting to note that this label was dated to the early 1960's.Sorry to keep on about my Army days at Kineton but the detail of this label is quite interesting. You will note that the load came from CAD Corsham in Wiltshire. This was an underground ammunition depot under Box Hill near Bath, The GW main line Box Hill Tunnel  was here. If you look closely on the London facing side of the tunnel  you can see where the siding into the depot went underground. There was only a transfer point underground from road to rail as the internal movement within the depot was done by, I believe, electric vehicles and trailers. I did go down there on a visit when I was doing my army apprenticeship in about 1959.

The load in this wagon was probably one of the later clearance/ transfer loads that went from Corsham to Kineton when the latter closed.

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