‘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.

SMJ photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All
Adrian's recent photo of the SMJ platforms at Blisworth has started me thinking about the precise nature of the station arrangements there. I know that in the 1950's (when I were a lad ! ) the station building on the roadside opposite the Blisworth Hotel was THE booking office - obviously the SMJ passenger service was no more by then, but it would seem that the booking office etc was a joint venture. There must have been facilities for the LNW before the SMJ came along in the 1860's - presumably in the existing LNW buildings which at that time must have had direct road access. (I've read somewhere that the LNW made up the road, previously just a lane, up from the main drag - later A43 where their first Blisworth station was located) Then along came the NBJR - and presumably constructed the station building that we all know opposite the hotel. There is my question really - was that building a joint venture from the start, connecting to the LNW platforms by the subway under the sidings and main line - or was it an NBJR station only ? Another possibility also suggests itself - did the NBJR have some small facilities of their own in the lower bit nearest their platforms, and the LNW have what we later considered the main booking office ? I have a very vague recollection of an interior view of the SMJ end of the building showing what might have been a small ticket window - must try and find it as it might be a clue.
Anyone have any info or further thoughts?

Views: 746

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Sorry to go off topic here but on having a look at the Rushden Historic Transport Society site & they have the large enamelled station sign for Blisworth in their collection - it is visible in one of the pictures on the site. Will have to try to visit at some point to see if I can get a picture of it.
Just an update to the current situation at Blisworth, Oct 2009. I did a railway walk around the Blisworth area the other day and it is now very difficult to make out anything of where the SMJ headed off from the station area with luxuriant tree growth and roads.
Dave Hayward
Blisworth station site is a very poor relation of the Blisworth station I know from images i have seen. Bridge 1 is no more (although there is an image of it somewhere on the site)The new slip road down under the 'new' A43 is on the alignment of the SMJ down and round to Blisworth SMJ station has all gone. So has the shed which stood at the fork of the SMJ and the main line, by the old turn table. If it wasn't for the hotel, there'd only be the station masters house. A contact of mine (who worked at Blisworth telegraph office ) has a track layout plan of the whole site - I tried to take a snap of it - but didn't do it justice) The plan is on the site and gives you some idea of just what a large layout it was. 13 or 14 track s wide,, a big place. Go and visit my mates Tonys Blisworth site at http://www.blisworth.org.uk/images/ for more. Don't forget I have a little more info here at http://thesmjr.ning.com/page/blisworth-1

For a run of Blisworth images go to this address and use the next button to run through them

C. E. BEVAN & CO., WAGON REPAIRING YARD at Blisworth Station near the bend in the Grand Junction Canal.  Approximate date 1860's as the SMJ cottages are not shown and there are some extra sidings on the SMJ side. This pre-dates the maps shown on the Blisworth images website.

Interesting to note that in 1891 Station Road, (ex Ford Lane), was maintained by the L&NWR and that the Northampton & Banbury Junction Railway Co. to contribute £10 per annum towards the cost of maintenance.

Actually the site of the SMJ cottages is well off the plan to the top right. It's a bit confusing as north is at the bottom of the plan, not the top. So the LNW main line runs across the top (London to the left), with its bridge over the canal just off picture to the left.

The wagon repair yard is tucked in between the up sidings and canal with the up side of Blisworth LNW station just visible at the top of the plan.

Difficult to comment on the date as there is little detail to go on, but the attached plan found in the National Archives at Kew provides an interesting comparison - although not dated the file contained items stated to be 1853 to 1893. Note the "third class platform" sited roughly where the exchange sidings between LNW and SMJ would appear later, so obviously before 1866 when the NBJR opened.


A most interesting map which I think may be earlier than stated. The stations were built by Richard Dunkley in 1845, as was his residence 'The Loundes', south of the Hotel, in 1846. The Blisworth Hotel was built by Dunkley in 1847, and owned by Thomas Shaw. Both Dunkley and Shaw laid out the Gardens in 1847, in exactly the same area as the reservoir, the land being purchased by the Duke of Grafton. The Duke, had also purchased land for the new 'first class station' to be built as stated in a letter written by his solicitor Thomas Howes, in April 1842. It is interesting to note that the other features on the map, the goods sheds, pumping house and tanks appear to be in the same position as built. If the railway company were obtaining water from the canal, as indicated by the position of the pumping house, then why was a reservoir needed? What do you think?

Good question!

The "proposed" reservoir was never proceeded with but the road did get constructed - although perhaps on a slightly different alignment ?

I wonder if the reason for the reservoir was just to provide an improved head of water for the canal - feeders of that type were often located near to canals, and the pipe shown on the plan does go down to the existing ponds close to the LNWR water tower. So it might not have been intended for railway use at all.

One other angle might be that the NBJR asked the LNWR for use of their loco water crane in 1868, when they had just started using a "larger locomotive" and their own supply was found to be insufficient. The LNWR had to refuse as they were not allowed to re-sell water extracted from the canal under the terms of their agreement with the canal company.

Maybe connected with that?

Barry Taylor said:

Difficult to comment on the date as there is little detail to go on, but the attached plan found in the National Archives at Kew provides an interesting comparison - although not dated the file contained items stated to be 1853 to 1893.

There is no hint of the branch to Northampton and Peterborough, (Royal Assent 1843, opened 1845) which suggests a date earlier than 1853 for the creation of the plan. This may even have been drawn in preparation of the new works, and filed later.


Hi Simon
Difficult one. Blisworths second station was built in this position at some date after the line to Northampton was opened in 1845- so the fact that the station is shown on this plan suggests a date post 1845. There does not appear to be a definitive date for the new station - in his bible of station openings etc M E Quick merely states by 1853. A plan in the Northampton Record Office showing sites of both old and new stations is just dated circa 1845 so also does not help much.
However, although the Northampton line is not shown on this plan, neither is anything else north of the main line - so I suspect that the plan is just truncated and the Northampton branch is missing accordingly - for example I can't think that there was not an up line platform in existence, but one is not shown.
The house known as The Loundes was built by Dunkley in 1848 according to the Blisworth History website so that may also give a clue. Likewise the Blisworth Hotel seems to have been around since 1846-ish.

Fair points, Barry. I wondered about the acres of white paper, and I suspect it was excluded as it had nothing to do with the matters at hand.

Despite the surname, and probably a shared distant ancestor, I am not aware of a direct connection with Richard Dunkley, which is a shame. (I also have no connection with Errol, the reggae singer, nor the Mr. Dunkley referred to by Lenny Henry, although I did once meet the latter!)

Reply to Discussion


© 2024   Created by Andy Thompson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service