‘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

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 on Friday.

Black & White photos of the SMJ

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 on Thursday.

Newport Pagnell OO gauge - MK Museum 1 Reply

I've added this photo album for Jon , David and anyone else to see. As its not SMJR related I will delete it after a few weeks. here is a linkNewport Pagnell OO gauge - MK…Continue

Started by Dick Bodily. Last reply by Dick Bodily on Wednesday.

DVD on the SMJ 3 Replies

HiI’m looking for a copy of the film “The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway” edited by Hillside Publishing some time ago.This company is now out of business and cannot be called upon to get a copy.If possible, I would wish to…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville. Last reply by Jack Freuville Dec 18, 2021.

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During the posturing that took place between John Bell of the Metropolitan Railway and Pollitt of the MS&LR on the run up to the building of the Great Central extension to London, the Met tried to get a route northwards from Aylesbury to Mor(e)ton Pinkney, ostensibly to link up with the East & West Railway. Bell's real motive was to ensure that he and his railway got their full share of control of the projected new GCR route. The Act was not passed so permission was not given. The anomosity between the two railways continued after the MS&LR linked up with the Met so much so that eventually the GCR as it became built a joint line with the GWR through Wycombe.


Just imagine if it had gone ahead with perhaps a Metropolitan A class tank bound for Baker Street waiting with a rack of 6 wheelers in a bay at a much larger Morton Pinkney station . Perhaps Morton would have become the main hub of the the GCR and not Woodford. Perhaps the GCR might have even spelt Moreton Pinkney correctly!  I doubt if it had gone ahead that it would done much good for the E&EJR (later SMJR) after all the Met's link to Verney Junction did next to nothing for The Buckinghamshire Railway.


Of course the actual GCR route DID go to Moreton Pinkney where its station much nearer to the village than the E&WJR one was inaccountably named Culworth after a village over 2 miles distant. My great-great grandfather's small farm was decimated by the building of the station he gave up farming and with the compensation he received the family moved to a house in Blakesley. My gran who lived at the farm saw the GCR being built and lived to see it closed. She loved the farm life of her childhood, resented the railway being built, and was one of the few people locally who was a bit pleased to see the line closed.


This is an appeal to anyone who has any info on the actual proposed route for the Met line to Moreton Pinkney or anything at all about this proposed line, With the family link previously mentioned to the Culworth station site I'd love to know more about the Met proposed line.

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I have always understod that both Bell and Pollitt were proteges of Sir Edward Watkin back in MS&L days, who disliked one another. Sir Edward had kept them in order but by the time that the GCR was built Sir Edward had been forced to take a back seat due to ill health. Certainly the bit about the Metropolitan causing the GC/GW Joint line to be built rings true, although the Met route via Aylesbury was not suitable for the sort of high speed running that the GC desired. The first train from Woodford over the new "London Extension" was a GCR coal train which, on reaching the jubnction with the Met north of Quainton Road, was prevented from proceeding further, presumably on Bell's orders. The train then had to beat an ignominious retreat, brake van first, to Woodford, since there was no means of running the engine round the train on GC property at Quainton Road.

I also understand that the Met used to run Pullman cars from Baker Street for businessmen from Buckinghamshire who commuted to London and that these were worked as far north as Verney Junction. I have seen a picture somewhere of one of the Met 4-4-4T engines standing in a bay at Verney Junction. It is not therefore surprising that the Met might have had designs on Moreton Pinkney, since the E&WJR and its extension to Broom would have given it a potential route to Birmingham (New Street). Such a situation would definitely not have appealed to the GWR, who also had a distinctly rocky relationship with the Metropolitan dating back to braod gauge days and quite probably went a long way towards their decision to join forces with the GC over the line through High Wycombe and Princes Risborough. The Pullman service to Verney Junction may very well have been part of the Met's kite-flying, but I can't believe that that Company would have been satisfied with a terminal either in deepest Bucks or rural Northants. Surely Birmingham was the ultimate aim.

Mind you, from the point of view of historical modellers, a Peter Denny-type layout based on an augmented Moreton Pinkney with Metropolitan stock meeting E&WJR stock (both not often modelled) and possible links with the MS&LR via Leicester and Rugby anf the GWR via Banbury would be an intriguing model project!
Would it have been any sort of achievement for Morton Pinkney to have become a second Verney Junction?

Pullman trains did run to Verney Junction, unlikely though that seems. This may have been because the chairman of the Met Railway lived nearby so effectively had his own personal service.

There may have been personal reasons that lead to the new line to be built via Princes Risborough but practical reasons were surely more important: the Met line south of Aylesbury was just too overloaded. Ironically this new fast line seemed to become redundant even earlier than the rest of the GCR and the line from Ashendon Junction to Grendon Junction was closed before my time, probbaly when the Sheffield expresses ended.

You may find a publication by Northamptonshire Record Office helpful - this is a "Catalogue of Plans of Proposed canals, Turnpike Roads, Railways etc 1792 - 1960" first published in 2000. It's available form the Record Office at Wootton Park - £9.95.

In it there are 10 schemes or plans that mention Moreton Pinkney, but the one which concerns you particularly is No. 203 in the book which dates from 30th Nov 1889 and is deposited by Charles Liddel, engineer on behalf of the Metropolitan Railway. This has all sorts of proposed routes - 6 in all - not just the line from Quainton, but also joining up at Helmdon on the Northampton & Banbury, and also the Banbury of the LNWR branch at Evenley.

Presumably the detailed plans can be examined at the Record Office - could be an interesting exercise.

Hope this helps.

Although it is not very detailed, there is a map of the proposed route on page 96 of Clive Foxell's Memories of the Met & GC Joint Line. (2002).
Further thoughts on the Met link from Quainton to Moreton Pinkney - the Metropolitan Railway proposal of 30th Nov 1889 was not passed as already stated, but appears to have been the work of the same engineer who was named in the M,S & L scheme of 1893 (i.e. the London Extension), and both schemes seem to utilise the same route between Quainton and Moreton Pinkney - so did Charles Liddell - engineer - get paid twice for the same work?
There's further reading on this matter in Vol 2 of Geoge Dow's "Great Central" (page 246 onwards).
Fascinating proposals of what might have been.


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