‘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

Broom Junction station site for sale 1 Reply

Great opportunity for an SMJ enthusiast perhaps.  I'm not sure what you could actually do with this site though!…Continue

Started by Simon Stevens. Last reply by Simon Stevens May 17.

Ravenstone Wood as three way junction? 1 Reply

A close analysis of the 1945 RAF aerial photographs available in the historical imagery resource on Google Earth has provided evidence that Ravenstone Wood was probably a three-way junction during the latter part of WW2 and for an unknown period of…Continue

Started by Dave Hayward. Last reply by Robin Cullup Apr 15.

Turntable at Burton Dassett 4 Replies

As part of my research prior to creating a model of the EHLR/SMJ junction at Burton Dassett, I’ve just had the privilege of looking through the original notes and letters produced by Eric Tonks whilst writing his 1948 book “The Edge Hill Light…Continue

Started by Mark Reader. Last reply by Mark Reader Mar 29.

The SMJR Great War Roll of Honour 11 Replies

Many of you will be aware that in common with all other railway companies the SMJR lost many of its employees for all or part of the Great War as the patriotic duty to volunteer was overwhelming.  Railwaymen were technically exempt but many chose to…Continue

Tags: of, Honour, Roll, War, SMJR

Started by John Jennings. Last reply by Simon Stevens Dec 15, 2017.

NEW BOOK ON THE SMJ - AVAILABLE SHORTLY 14 Replies

Hi allI'm pleased to announce that the first volume of my history of…Continue

Started by Barry Taylor. Last reply by John Evans Nov 22, 2017.

Fenny Comptn

HelloI purchased the book « Track Layout Diagrams of the Great Western Railway and B.R. (W.R.) section 29 » « Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Jcn Rly » by R.A.Cooke ISBN 10 :1 871674 20 4N page 29/9 on the 1903 track plan it shows a goods shed at…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville Oct 16, 2017.

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Towcester

 

 

 

Blisworth
Towcester
Wappenham
Helmdon
Banbury



A modest beginning was made with the Northampton and Banbury Junction Railway being authorised in 1863. Things gathered a pace, and two years later an Act authorising an extension westwards to Chipping Norton and Blockley, Gloucestershire and in the next year, 1866, a further extension which would have taken the line to Ross-on-Wye; were authorised. However, and like so many plans of the time, the financial crisis of that year left the scheme high and dry.The final railway reached neither Northampton nor Banbury over its own metals; having to obtain running powers over the LNWR line from Blisworth to Northampton and from Cockley Brake Junction to Banbury over the LNWR’s line from Verney Junction.

 

Find out more about Towcester s Signal Box



 

The first section was opened from a station adjoining the LNWR’s premises at Blisworth; running to Towcester on 1st May 1866 – the railway had arrived! Around this time Towcester acquired an engine shed. Learn more. The extension West to Cockley Brake took another six years to complete; again because of financial problems. This section had two stations, Wappenham and Helmdon, both of which were opened to goods traffic in August of 1871. Whilst all this was going on another company appeared in the area going by the name of ‘The East and West Junction Railway’ (E&WJR). Their plan was also to create a cross-country route for all this new found iron ore in the Blisworth area, linking Towcester with Stratford-upon-Avon - authorisation by Parliament came in 1864. In 1909 the line became known as the Stratford upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway (The SMJ) and with another Act in 1910 it absorbed the N & BJR, which had pursued a more modest but uninspiring career ever since the E & W JR had made its junction near Greens Norton in 1873.


The L.M.S was created in 1923 during "The grouping" taking over the running of the SMJ’s line to Stratford.The Second World War took great toll on the railways and on the state of the national economy in general, with the result that after the war in 1948 the railways were nationalized as British Railways.


Around this time plans for Towcester’s services to be withdrawn were being hatched. I found a copy of the London Midland region map of 1961 and it showed nothing of Blisworth station on the main line, and nothing of Towcester.


The last scheduled passenger trains having run in 1952, freight struggled on into the mid 60's, when at last, it all came to an end. If you are wondering what happened to the site at Towcester - it's now a Tescos!, follow the A5; north through the town nearly to the A43 by-pass and go and pay the old place a visit! Bridge 149, which once carried the Tiffield road on the Olney branch still stands at the East of the site, but not much else!



Find more photos like this on "The Unofficial SMJ Society" at www.smj.me


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Comment by Andy Thompson on May 7, 2010 at 13:14

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