‘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

SMJR Logo 4 Replies

Hi ThereI’m planning to print some water slide decals of the EWJR and the SMJR in 4 mm scale.Can anybody help me sort out the size and color scheme?For the size; following photos, this would be between 3 and 4 mm in 1/76For the EWJR Garter I…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville. Last reply by Jim Goodman Aug 4.

Footage of the SMJR 1 Reply

Hello, I found your forum searching for the SMJR. I've just uploaded a digitised version of old cine film footage of the line to my Youtube channel. I will be selling the original Hillside cine film soon along with a few others I've collected…Continue

Started by G Essex Random Railways. Last reply by Jim Goodman Jul 3.

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.

SMJ photos

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Hello

 

Does anyone have any data on the narrow gauge railway as seen in the book by Arthur Jordan, notably the motive power?

 

I make no sense of the line diverging right as this is not on the map of Clifford Sidings

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Jack & Peter

Once again I find myself having to correct errors that have been made by others on the history of the SMJ line. The reason that you can find no line diverging at Clifford is because one never did! Whoever compiled the data on the Warwickshire Railways site has confused the locations of Clifford Sdgs & Ettington Limeworks Sdgs! For the record Clifford is located at 37m 35ch and Ettington at 33m 54ch. The photo records on the Warwickshire site numbered smjc99, smjc100 & smjc100a are taken at the Ettington site the others are at Clifford Sdgs. There are some other photos on our site that I posted of the Ettington works some time ago. The limeworks was active for interchange traffic with the E & W and later SMJ between 1905 and 1916. The records at Kew show useful revenues obtained for this traffic. The LMS had removed the connection by 1928 in their general tidy up of the line in the late 1920's. There were special arrangements for collecting loaded trains from the sidings so as to eliminate the risk of run away unbraked trucks down the nearby Godicote cutting. There was some unrecorded dispute between the Quarry owners and the East & West Junc Rly regarding the actual boundary between their lands. This resulted in the E&W placing small boundary marker plates around the site. This is the only known use of such plates by the E&W or SMJ. Only a very small number of these plates survive and are much sought after by railwayana collectors. I cannot help with any information regarding the use of locomotives by the Limestone Co I know that horses were used for work in the quarry but that is hardly surprising for the era and size of operation. I have made several attempts at researching this site with local history groups over the years and there is very little surviving data apparantly out there. I hope this helps

 

John 

Hi Jack,

According to Christensen’s ‘Signalling of the SMJ’ the quarry was at the eastern end of Goldicott cutting, some 61 chains from Ettington station. Looking at the OS map you can see quarry workings in exactly that spot. I would suggest that if it was that close it was probably worked by horses throughout.

Two other clues that add weight to the argument are that the quality of the track would not support a locomotive, and the story in Arthur Jordan’s book about a horse that wandered through an open gate onto the main line derailing a cattle wagon.

Incidentally that story in Christensen’s booklet relates that a lad, frightened by a horse which shied, stepped back into the path of a train on the main line. He goes on to say that the siding was closed after the newly formed SMJ withdrew the preferential rate which the quarry owners had previously enjoyed.

I also attach an aerial photo of Goldicott cutting – could that be a building in the centre of the photo, perhaps the remains of the Crushing Plant?

These are just my thoughts, as John says, there is very little surviving data out there. We'll probably never know the real story.

Jim.

 

 

All

Further to my earlier effort and Jim's reply I can confirm that the centre of the quarry workings were at grid ref SP 26703 50850. This is on the left of the A429 road leaving Ettington about 350 yards past the site of the former overbridge at the station entrance. No trace exists as the workings were backfilled and levelled back to the original contours as agricultural land. The area is now part of two farms, Whitfield Farm and Springfield farm. I have also posted some photos from my collection of the exchange siding area (photographer unknown). Local history enthusiasts inform me that the limestone was of a fracteous and powdery nature and used for the production of mortar and as a fluxing agent in the blast furnaces of South Wales.

John

Further to John Jennings information on the E&W Jct boundary marker's its believed these may have been produced at the Royal Label Factory in Stratford upon Avon. They were unusual in the fact that they were made from aluminium.  Boundary markers were usually made of cast iron. Further more the E&W  also used the same material for there mileage markers (picture attached). A number of these boundary markers were recovered in the early 1970's by some well known collector's of the time most of the finds were in several pieces but whole examples do exist.

Alwyn. 

I can confirm without doubt that the boundary markers were produced by the foundry of John Smith who started business in 1874 at a site off College Street in Old Town, Stratford producing aluminium based castings from a sand moulding process. The main business was producing small round or oval labels for identification of plants in ornamental gardens. The labels were used by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in her rose garden where they were mounted on stakes so that she could use them as a form of "Braille" as her sight was failing. This led to the business being awarded Royal recognition in 1876 and the foundry then traded as "The Royal Label Factory". It was only a few hundred yards from the East & West Junc station and offices. It is reasonable to suppose that consignments of signs would have been sent via the East & West route rather than trudge heavy packages through the streets of Stratford to the GW station. The use of alloy was very novel and when the E&W had cause to order their plates it is possibly the first recorded instance of a railway warning plate being cast in any material other than iron! Another piece of history for the line. I have a rubbing kindly supplied by the owner of one of the rare complete plates showing the reverse with a clear stamping of J Smith, Stratford. When I was at school in Stratford in the early fifties it was a regular "treat" for parties of school children to visit the factory where of course they were by then totally engaged in road sign manufacture. The site is now housing. A few good images of the factory are around on the internet.

 

John

Thank you for confirming this fact John.

Alwyn.

John Jennings said:

I can confirm without doubt that the boundary markers were produced by the foundry of John Smith who started business in 1874 at a site off College Street in Old Town, Stratford producing aluminium based castings from a sand moulding process. The main business was producing small round or oval labels for identification of plants in ornamental gardens. The labels were used by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in her rose garden where they were mounted on stakes so that she could use them as a form of "Braille" as her sight was failing. This led to the business being awarded Royal recognition in 1876 and the foundry then traded as "The Royal Label Factory". It was only a few hundred yards from the East & West Junc station and offices. It is reasonable to suppose that consignments of signs would have been sent via the East & West route rather than trudge heavy packages through the streets of Stratford to the GW station. The use of alloy was very novel and when the E&W had cause to order their plates it is possibly the first recorded instance of a railway warning plate being cast in any material other than iron! Another piece of history for the line. I have a rubbing kindly supplied by the owner of one of the rare complete plates showing the reverse with a clear stamping of J Smith, Stratford. When I was at school in Stratford in the early fifties it was a regular "treat" for parties of school children to visit the factory where of course they were by then totally engaged in road sign manufacture. The site is now housing. A few good images of the factory are around on the internet.

 

John

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