‘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

Binton station plans 2 Replies

Hi!I recently discovered this article on Binton station building in the now long defunct magazine ‘Model Railways’ from 1976. It includes a full plan which might encourage someone to model this simple station.Does anyone have access to, or know of a…Continue

Started by Martin Bromage. Last reply by Martin Bromage May 8.

Black & White photos of the SMJ 1 Reply

HelloMy name is Mick Baker and i have recently joined your society.A friend of mine Nigel Hadlow, has taken several thousand black & white photosof railways around the country.With a little help from me with my limited computer skills, i have…Continue

Started by Mick Baker. Last reply by Peter S Lewis Mar 29.

Station Masters

Stationmasters_Revised_January_2022.xlsxChris Hillyard on the Facebook Group "Railways Of Northamptonshire and…Continue

Started by Graham Ward Feb 7.

Does this show the Scratter at Roade? 4 Replies

A very short clip of a cricket match at Roade. A goods train passes. Could it be on the SMJR?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnPSvt-NEeIContinue

Started by Ron Johnson. Last reply by Chris Hillyard RVM Jan 21.

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Peter S Lewis's Comments

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At 10:13 on March 12, 2011, John Whitehead said…
Hi Peter
My reply to your email may have gone to a no-reply box and you might not therefore have received it.
I now live in Caldicot Monmouthshire, 2 miles from Severn Tunnel Junction but as my modest SMJ memories which I've just uploaded will tell, I originate from the Towcester area.
John Whitehead
At 0:39 on January 22, 2011, Kevin Moore said…
Hello Peter and thank you for your welcome,Unfortunately i am not old enough to have ever seen anything operating over this superb rural railway.However when i started on the railway at Northampton in the early 80s there were 3 ex Blisworth men still working at Northampton depot.( in fact most of the drivers at this time were 55 years old plus) Therefore there were plenty of stories regaled of times past which fascinated me.It brought it home to me how boring it must have been for them going main line to just Euston Birmingham or Crewe when they used to go to all  points of the compass.This website shows in detail with all the old photos just how interesting the railways were then.I try to visit some of the locations in "real life" whenever i get the chance to see the changes over time.
At 18:34 on December 12, 2010, David Walker said…

Thank you for your welcome message. I was thrilled to find the SMJ site and browse the

photo album to see locations that I remember from the 1940's when being transported to my grand parents at Moreton Pinkney. Incidents that come to mind are dropping my Teddy off the platform and causing delay to the train from Blisworth while the guard scrabbled about on the track to effect a rescue. The Yank serviceman giving me my first taste of chewing gum (spat out). The train on another occasion at night coming to a halt some way before M/P station and Aunt Ethel getting out and rolling down into the brambles by the brook, yes, it really happened! I can still hear the shout from the engine "shut that bloody door", there might have been Luftwaffe about! Uncle and stationmaster setting off back up the line with a lantern to find her. I was also fortunate to spend many days at the

M/P signal box as, I think Mr Hawtin, the signalman was my gparents neighbour and for some reason was given the task of looking after me and demonstrated by placing a penny on the rail, what would happen to me if I didn't watch out. I also remember all the staff (3)

moving wagons of beet around the yard with what I now know to be a pinch bar. All these

memories revived by your photo album, thank you so much. I live in Devon so do not have the oppotunities to visit in person. Merry Christmas. David Walker.


At 19:01 on November 3, 2010, Robert Blair said…
Hello Peter,my wifes father has been telling her of his days as a young lad ,when he visited his nan and pap who lived in School Lane Blacksley.His paps name was Harold Drinkwater and he was a signelman at Blacksley.As a lad, my father-inlaws job was to take his paps lunch and drink to him,then to pick fresh vegetables from the allotment that was kept beside the signelbox.The old photos of the station and signelbox brought back fond memories.Thank you for a excelent site.Regards Robert
At 20:51 on September 7, 2010, jamie scott gardner said…
Many thanks Peter, I shall enjoy exploring the site!
At 17:49 on May 11, 2010, alwyn sparrow said…
Thanks for the welcome, I look forward to debate with you and putting some input
into the site.
At 18:08 on March 30, 2010, Richard Woods said…
Thank you very much!
At 9:00 on March 2, 2010, Steve Johns said…
Hello Peter,

Many thanks for the welcome to the site.
I am interested in building a model set around Worcester Diglis (planned but never reached).
The period will be the early 1950's with a mix of LMS and early British Railways liveries.

At 19:52 on October 8, 2009, Dick Bodily said…

Clive contacted me when I joined the GC society. Seems he recognised my surname as he worked with my dad's cousin, who drove out of Woodford, and that's why he contacted me in the first place. He has sent me emails about Woodford in general, his experiences on the SMJ were limited. The bits about the SMJ I have cut and pasted on to the website with his permission.
It would be great if we could locate an ex- Northampton footplate man as they were in charge of the bulk of SMJ workings east of Woodford.

At 9:59 on September 14, 2009, Stuart Ison said…
Sorry Peter I do not have any photos of Evesham Road Crossing Box.
At 13:37 on September 13, 2009, adrian vaughan said…
Hello Peter,
It went on too long! 11.30 finish. The talk flowed - aong with everything ele - but I was getting a bit threadbare by 11. I've been to Weybourne this morning and spent 3 hours cleaning the bright work - it took that long to get the copper cap and safety valve cover truly clear and bright. The engine is badly in need of a paint job - the tender is OK. The nameplates black backing paint is also a mess. The brass can be polished (was polished) but the backing paint was in a terrible mess of rubbed out-ness and brasso marks which cannot be removed. I would have liked to do more - maybe I will Tuesday a.m early before I go into the signal box. I went on the a Norfolk COunty Council 'Green' event at Felbrigg hall near Cromer to collect 60 kilos of county council garden waste compost and 10 kilos of compressed sawdust blocks.
At 6:35 on September 13, 2009, adrian vaughan said…
Thank you for the kind thought, Peter.
Reciprocated of course. And taling of reciprocation - when I've done the washing up from last night's dinner party (two friends over from the railway) I'm off to spruce-up the great reciprocating engine 'City of Truro'.

Best wishes,

At 13:49 on September 5, 2009, David Guest said…
Family ties in Blakesley - childhood holidays.
At 9:58 on August 25, 2009, Dick Bodily said…

Have updated the rail tours thanks to Barry T and Rex Partridge (by mail), have a look and see if you can spot any errors. Will later be updating the SMJR classes list as Rex has details of diesels that have been to Kineton, plus stock that was stored there ( some amazing stuff coming but will probably wait until his SMJR article appears in 'Steam Days' shortly as that would only be fair to him)

At 10:48 on May 6, 2009, Andy Thompson said…
Thanks for your input Pete. I'm hoping to meet Brian Dunn next month on my talk. We still on for some SMJ hunting?

At 9:33 on May 6, 2009, John Jennings said…
Hi Peter
I have responded to very many enquiries over the years and always glad to help researchers on the ex SMJ line. I did post some archive material on the old site but I suppose you have read this??

Regards John J
At 21:57 on April 15, 2009, Bryan George Cross said…
Evening Peter,
Thanks for the welcome,.
No I have no connection with the SMJ just a passing interest in railways.
Live in Bedfordshire and know a few ex-drivers from Bedford who occasionally worked the line.


At 12:40 on April 14, 2009, brian dunn said…
thank you for your kind welcome it was a pleasure to receive your message.am originally from honiton devon and was the last junior porter at combpyne on the lyme regis branch no doubt andy would be interested in my many stories of the exeter salisbury route as he lives in feniton the former sidmouth junction where my late father was once a porter.

after becoming a signalman i finished up at west drayton box(rip)but i really wanted to work at honiton incline box(rip)but left BR when offered a job with the MOD at yardley chase depot (otherwhise known as piddington on puddle)) so iwent to live in blisworth with my brother who was a shunter at blisworth so i got to know them all there including my good mate lennie haynes and his wife eileen who was a parcel porter at blisworth,my brother used to go out with eileens sister.

this was my introduction to the SMJ.the ironstone pit at blisworth was still open using steam locos my only photo of those happy daze(induced in the blisworth hotel)is of me at the ironstone pit with the locos a few days after its hurried closure.lenny had a van so much exploring of the SMJ was done by us and it soon became my favourite railway albiet trackless and it was interesting to listen to lennys many stories iused to walk our dog along the SMJ each evening as far as tiffield bridge i found an SMJ cast iron notice behined the ivy on the first farmers bridge along the wsy and took it home it was there until i went to australia for a few years i dont know where it is now mores the pity.

YARDLEY CHASE was a good place to play with trains but the pay was lousy!i could have gone to MOD BICESTER as a blockman(signalman) but the MOD pay and the cost of living in bicester are not exactly compatible!

rumours had it YARDLEY CHASE was to close(which it eventually did) i got offered a job BRITISH WATERWAYS at the blisworth(gayton arm) depot less pay than MOD so i went as a £10 tourist to australia instead it was ok but the lure of the SMJ won the day(ha ha)

i will speak to lenny about any info for the website i phoned him as soon as i had joined he was amazed! he does not have internet access or know anyone who has so next time i see him in a couple of months i will take a note book he also knows a lot of poems written by another relief signalman at blisworth dubbed the poet they are clean but comical and all about amusing incidents on the railway in the local area

cheers for now peter all best wishes and i look forward to hearing from you.

At 19:47 on April 13, 2009, John Cosford said…
Hi Peter,
Not really "expertise" as such, rather the fact that I was fortunate to have visited and photographed some of the SMJ line in the 1960s as well as subsequetly acquiring a quantity of railway paperwork from LMS days, most of which is now in Andy's posession! If you loook at Andy's other SMJ site, you will see some photos from me and also from my mate Ron Fisher as we travelled around together quite a lot in those days. I only wish now that I had taken more pictures but when so many lines were closing and steam was on its way out, there was a lot of ground to cover - too much in fact!

At 18:57 on April 13, 2009, Lloyd Penfold said…
Hi there Peter.As a youngster I used to stay with relatives at Blakesley in the late 50s & early 60s, the railway was one field from their house. I would wait to see the daily train at about 10:20 in the morning, and sometimes its return in the afternoon.

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