‘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

EWJR Portland Cement Wagon 11 Replies

Hello All,I found this item on ebay, although it's a model, what I'd like to know is, was it actually based on the real thing? As you can see it has the initials EWJR and return empty to Ettington, which all fits in with the real world.It was listed…Continue

Started by Jim Goodman. Last reply by Mark Reader Jun 11.

The Roade Connection 2 Replies

There seem to be several big questions about the SMJ.Tiffield station: did it exist, for how long and where exactly was it?Why build stations at Salcey Forest and Stoke Bruerne, and why such substantial buildings?But the biggest one seems to be the…Continue

Started by peter fleming. Last reply by Richard Denny May 19.

Stored coaches 3 Replies

This query arises from a discussion on another site (Disused Railway and Stations around Northamptonshire).There has been recent reference to coaches stored on the SMJ and a statement in Bylines March 12th issue that there were over three hundred…Continue

Started by Alan Brant. Last reply by Alan Brant Apr 30.

Way in

Hi thereI hope you are all in good health.A question about passenger access to stations such as Fenny Compton.Apparently, these station buildings had no entrance doors and access was only from the platform side.I imagine passengers would come up…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville Mar 29.

SMJ photos

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Just noticed that it will be fifty years on 3rd February 2014 since the Woodford West-Blisworth Ironstone Mine section closed completely.  Wonder if Tesco could be persuaded to put a plaque up to commemorate it?    

Does anyone know when the last freight operated through Towcester, presumably week ending Saturday 1st February.

I got to know the station well at the beginning of the sixties on summer holiday's at my grandparents (Grandad had worked on the SMJ and its predecessors from 1897-1947 - his photo is in Arthur Jordan's book - Jim Campion).

Evan Dines ran the whole show and he let me have the run of the place too!  Footplate rides and shunting took place on 44491, 44524/5, 45191 and 48658 at various times, but the best was in May 1963 when a WD Austerity from Doncaster (90496) turned up on the pick up goods. Mr Dines had a word with the crew and told me to get on the engine as "he wanted to test points and signals".  Light engine, we moved off Platform one and over the A5 bridge, before setting back on Platform three and then just past the signal box turned on to the parallel line, stopped and chimney first set off, the driver telling me not to lean out the cab. At what seemed some speed we ran through the goods shed and over the A5 before stopping and reversing back onto our short train in Platform one.

I suspect that Mr Dines arranged all this for me, as rumours of closure were being talked about at this time - was I on the last steam engine to go through the goods shed??

Later that week, a Leicester Midland B.R. Standard 75xxx arrived tender first with a complete break down train heading for Woodford, I took a picture, but sadly with passage of time it has disappeared.

The last steam loco I saw at Towcester was 48349 on 12/06/63, but I visited Blisworth Mines several times, the last being on 06/01/66 when all three locos (Ettrick, Blisworth No.1 & No.49) were present. I presume all three were later scrapped?

I managed just one visit to Byfield Mine on 07/05/65 when Cherwell and No.3 Avonside were noted. Charwelton Mine had closed by this date when I paid a visit.

Sadly, my Aunt Dorothy (Dunkley) died last year, but she worked on the railway during the Second World War, firstly at Towcester before being transferred to Roade station. She cycled from Towcester in all weathers, but sometimes Grandad would give her and her bicycle a lift on his P.W. trolley along the railway to the point just before the SMJ crossed the West Coast Main Line! (Probably the old connection into Roade station).

Graham Campion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comment by Graham Campion on December 11, 2013 at 4:37

Quite happy for you or someone else with more IT skills than myself to create a webpage.  Also nice to know that the spirit of the SMJ lives on with Mr Dines' daughter marrying the son of Blakeley's signalman.

Graham Campion

Comment by Dick Bodily on December 10, 2013 at 20:47

Very interesting memories Graham. So interesting that they ought to be a webpage on this website in themself, which I could do for you if you like or I'm sure Andy or Peter who own the site would do it.

Unfortunately I was unable to find out the actual dates of the last runnings of the Byfield Ironstone to Blisworth mineral working or the Blisworth - Woodford West pick up either when I was researching the last few years of pick up and mineral workings in general, but they were believed to be in January 1964.  The last trainload out of Byfield Ironstone which went initially to Woodford then on to Renishaw ran on 26th January 1965. 

Incidentally Mr Dines' daughter turned up at one of our get togethers at Stoke Bruerne a few years ago, she is married to the son of Blakesley's signalman.

 

Dick Bodily

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