‘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

Binton Station

As I was in the vicinity this week I visited my old stamping ground of over sixty years ago, the former SMJ station at Binton. The former goods shed has been demolished, 24 upmarket dwellings have been constructed in the old yard and the former…Continue

Started by Paul Stratford Apr 23.

Would the GCR have gone via Towcester? 14 Replies

Looking through Mac Hawkins book on the GCR then and now, he mentions that the GCR were thinking of running a line connecting Brackley to Northampton and had provisionally made a mound ready for a platform to be later constructed but they dropped…Continue

Started by Gary. Last reply by Andrew Emmerson Apr 18.

EWJR Portland Cement Wagon 13 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 Jim Goodman Apr 18.

MORTON PINKNEY LEVEL CROSSING 14 Replies

There was a public level crossing between Blakesley and Morton Pinkney, complete with a gatehouse.Does anyone know how this was operated?Presumably the gates must have been manual and kept closed against road traffic.Early Working Timetables mention…Continue

Started by Barry Taylor. Last reply by Andrew Emmerson Apr 17.

SMJ photos

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By any chance does anybody have a reasonable photograph of Banbury Merton Road Loco Shed? If so I would like to include into some private research I am intending to share with a small informal group of enthusiasts, it would be greatly appreciated.

Additionally I am endeavouring to find out any information about the tramway that served the Britannia Works at Banbury. I have identified a a track plan on an early OS map and one early posed group photograph of a some workers, the group is straddling a length of the tramway that is entering a building, this did happen in various locations. From the photograph the gauge appears to be about 2' 6", I have no information whether the system was worked by steam locomotives or horses/ manpower. The location of any loco shed would be particularly helpful as well - whether it was east or west of the Cherwell.

Regards,

Dave Hayward

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I do not think there are any unfortunately...

I’ve never seen any photos of this shed but would be very interested to see if anybody does find a photo as I worked with drivers from Bletchley that worked to Banbury

Good Evening Dave

Go to www.disused-stations.org.uk  and search for Banbury Merton Street station. There are two maps showing the layout of the Britannia Works as well. There may be a photo of the engine shed as well.

Picture No. 18, Branch Lines Around Towcester, Middleton Press, by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith. There is also a diagram in the same authors' book Oxford to Bletchley plate XXV/XXVI.

Have you tried the Archive section on The Engine Shed Societies website as there's a photo of the shed.

Thanks to everybody for their interest and responses, unfortunately the photograph of Merton Street shed is one I have seen previously, albeit in this instance 'less grainy'. I have also seen the map of the Britannia tramway, in fact I have downloaded a map of the complete system form National Library of Scotland maps database ( a fantastic resource for anybody interested in older maps.

https://maps.nls.uk/

Attached is a copy of the map showing the Britannia Tramway that I have annotated to illustrate the layout better, also a photograph of some workers that has a short section of the tramway in the picture [possibly 2' 6" gauge?)

Also please find another NLS Maps download of the No 9 Filling Station at Warkworth showing the extensive rail layout. This was connected to the Buckingham/ Cockley Brake line so of course had SMJ connections!

Please find below some narrative on these systems that I prepared for another Group that I am involved with:-

t is perhaps pertinent if I mention the boundary changes at Banbury that are referred to below. There have been various changes in the Northamptonshire/ Oxfordshire boundary over the years, most being inconsequential small parcels of land just tidying up changes by rivers moving etc. The most important however happened in 1889 when the hamlets of Grimsbury, Nethercote and Huscote, all in Warkworth parish were transferred to Bodicote parish in Oxfordshire, these included both Banbury stations and associated track-work. Overthorpe hamlet was transferred from Warkworth to Middleton Cheney, still in the county, in 1894. Warkworth remains in this 'shrunken' form until today.

GR: 462402: Britannia Works Industrial Tramway, Banbury  This system could have had its loco shed in Northamptonshire, if so it would have been the furthest west. This was a narrow gauge system that straddled the original County boundary between Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire serving the various buildings of the Britannia works in Banbury. I cannot locate much about this system except that the attached map illustrates the entire layout, highlighted by myself. Unfortunately the map does not show the loco shed so it is not possible to say which county it was in. No information re the system's gauge or how it operated but it did open in 1881 and closed in 1935, the section to the east of the Cherwell would have therefore been in Northamptonshire for about eight years. If it was horse drawn then I suppose the loco shed would have been a stable! A report in the Oxford Mail 20/01/2010 mentions that the tramway ran to Banbury station where a small depot was built to store incoming goods and finished goods awaiting export. Regarding the gauge, I have located a workers group photograph online (Banbury Guardian) showing a very short length of track leading from a workshop, I would estimate 2' 6" - do others agree'

[Stop Press - I have just located that the tramway was authorised by by the Banbury Board of Health in 1870, I have emailed the Oxfordshire County Archives for a copy of this document, once I get it I                will inform the Group of anything of interest.]

  • GR: 476403: No 9 Filling Factory, Warkworth The second, confirmed, most westerly loco shed  in Northamptonshire was also in the parish of Warkworth. This served the railway system of the No 9 Filling Factory that was built adjacent to the Banbury Merton Street to Buckingham line as this line curved away to the SE. The factory was opened in 1915 and closed in 1919 when it was converted into an ammunition breakdown factory run by Cohen's (of Kettering infamy!), it finally closed in 1924. The site is of significant scientific and historical interest and to that effect has been provided with the protection of 'scheduling'; the narrative surrounding this can be found at:-

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1409811

            This includes discussion on the railway and positions the engine shed to the west of the centre of Area 1, there are some buildings in this area that can be seen on the attached maps of the site, the                     small extract from the 1923 map provides what to my mind is the most likely option. Further suggested reading is:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Filling_Factory,_Banbury

            which discusses some other points of railway interest. These include mention of an internal narrow gauge tramway system to move material between and inside of the production buildings - note  the                 rails being copper to prevent sparks! It is also interesting to note the mention of the production of chemical weapons - do these explain the three long tracks to the north of Unit 1 heading past the                     Bowling Green pub? This would seem logical to prevent the main site becoming contaminated in case of accident. This latter area is the only part of the factory not in Northamptonshire. Note how close the county boundary is to the Factory and specifically the loco shed.

Attachments:

I remember the narrow gage track running outside the station back in the 60's. We would pass it when walking too and from the loco depot and the station when disposing of or picking up a loco from the shed. I also remember the large factory building next to it but never knew where the railway ran too or from.

Would the local authority Record Office have details of this system within its Archive Service?

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