‘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"
Following the sad loss of John Jennings, a stalwart of the SMJ and our society, Mike Musson set up a page on his site. The whole sit is well worth a visit as it overlaps with us here at the SMJ society Go take a look…Continue
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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)
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??
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.
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.
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!
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.
Hello Peter. Yes, probably a punishable offence, but what can you do? My main interest was/is the GC. My 'famous' book though included several SMJ scenes, the SMJ being a 'connected line', and also some shots taken on the Byfield Ironstone line. Right now the GCRS are hum-ing and hah-ing about reprinting the book. It seems to me that interest in steam days and in railway history in general is holding its own even with the unrelenting passage of time.