‘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

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SMJ photos

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Hello, I am interested in the location of the image posted by Terry Dorrity on the Six Bells Junction website. This is of 44188 on the 'Farewell to SMJR Tour' of 24th April 1965 in Goldicot Cutting.

The SLS Library Collection has a photograph of 44188 on the above tour in a deep single track cutting on a down gradient. In the background there is a high single arch overbridge with scaffolding underneath at one side. Could this be same bridge that the photograph on Six Bells Jn. was taken from, or would it be elsewhere between Stratford and Woodford Halse?

From the billing of the 24th April 1965 tour as a 'Farewell' rather than as 'Last Train' it would imply that there would be further freight or passenger trains over the whole or sections of line between Stratford and Woodford Halse, and that the tour with 44188 was not a last train. Is this so?

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Ian,

Here's a link to the Railtours page

http://thesmjr.ning.com/page/rail-tours

And here's one to another page which might be generally useful

http://thesmjr.ning.com/page/last-years-of-the-smj-pickups

The last train to run on the Stratford to Woodford section was indeed this special. The last regular freight on any part of this section ran from Woodford yards to Byfield Ironstone and back on 12th January 1965 and was headed by Woodford 8F 48141.

The last small section of the SMJ, apart from the link to Kineton MoD depot which remains open was the Blisworth Ironstone Siding to Blisworth section which lasted until 1967.

 

Dick Bodily

Ian,

My photograph of 44188 was indeed taken from the bridge at Goldicote cutting on the way out 

to Woodford Halse on the Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) Farewell to the 

Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway Tour on 24th April 1965 (at 15:15).

You can well imagine that there were a lot of people on the bridge at that moment keen to 

witness this sad event.

Pannier tank 6435 (now preserved on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway) had brought the train 

into Stratford from Birmingham Snow Hill with 44188. The 4F returned to Stratford later in the

day where it was rejoined at Old Town station by 6435. 

Earlier tours included the Home Counties Railway Society Six Counties Railtour” on 7 March 
1965 double-headed by 31639 and 33006 and, on 7 February 1965, another double-headed
special, the L.C.G.B. Thames, Avon and Severn Rail Tour” on the 12 October 1963 with 6368 
and 2246. A week earlier, on 5 October 1963, the M. & G.N. Joint Railway Society Wandering 
1500” tour was hauled, obviously, by 61572. The Railway Enthusiasts' Club Chiltern 200” ran 
on the 14 September 1963 with 6111, and an earlier interesting Gloucestershire Railway Society 
special on Saturday 27 May 1961 was headed by ex Midland Railway 4P 4-4-0 compound 1000.
 

I have a number of colour photos of all of these (although the ones of MR 1000 were taken at 

sunset and are sihouettes) if anyone is interested.

 

Fuller details can be found on the Six Bells Junction Railtours File site:

http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/trf/trfindex.htm

And the SMJ society tours page:

http://thesmjr.ning.com/page/rail-tours

      

Terence Dorrity

Attachments:



Terry Dorrity said:

Ian,

My photograph of 44188 was indeed taken from the bridge at Goldicote cutting on the way out 

to Woodford Halse on the Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) Farewell to the 

Stratford upon AvonAvon and Midland Junction Railway Tour on 24th April 1965 (at 15:15).

You can well imagine that there were a lot of people on the bridge at that moment keen to 

witness this sad event.

Pannier tank 6435 (now preserved on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway) had brought the train 

into Stratford from Birmingham Snow Hill with 44188. The 4F returned to Stratford later in the

day where it was rejoined at Old Town station by 6435. 

Earlier tours included the Home Counties Railway Society Six Counties Railtour” on 7 March 
1965 double-headed by 31639 and 33006 and, on 7 February 1965, another double-headed
special, the L.C.G.B. Thames, Avon and Severn Rail Tour” on the 12 October 1963 with 6368 
and 2246. A week earlier, on 5 October 1963, the M. & G.N. Joint Railway Society Wandering 
1500” tour was hauled, obviously, by 61572. The Railway Enthusiasts' Club Chiltern 200” ran 
on the 14 September 1963 with 6111, and an earlier interesting Gloucestershire Railway Society 
special on Saturday 27 May 1961 was headed by ex Midland Railway 4P 4-4-0 compound 1000.
 

I have a number of colour photos of all of these (although the ones of MR 1000 were taken at 

sunset and are sihouettes) if anyone is interested.

 

Fuller details can be found on the Six Bells Junction Railtours File site:

http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/trf/trfindex.htm

And the SMJ society tours page:

http://thesmjr.ning.com/page/rail-tours

      

Terence Dorrity

Terrace, I have uploaded the photograph that I have described below. It was taken by RJ Blenkinsop. I have no idea of the fate of his collection or copyright. Could you confirm the location?

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Attachments:

Ian,

It looks like the same bridge I took my photo from, the bridge over Goldicote cutting on the Stratford to Banbury road. As far as I know it was the only bridge crossing such a deep cutting. However, there were quite a lot of us on that bridge for the run towards Woodford Halse and although many would have left quickly to see the train again further along the line, in my case at Kineton, I'm surprised there are so few people in the shot. Perhaps it was taken from the Stratford side of the bridge when the train returned. Dick Blenkinsop is, I believe, still around. He has had quite a number of photos published. Perhaps he even looks at this site from time to time.  

Regards,

Terry

Terry,

I am not that familiar with the terrain. In your photo the special appears to be on a downgrade, which would support the supposition that the Blenkinsop photo would be of the final, return working. I also need to confirm that Goldicote cutting is the only deep cutting between Stratford and Woodford Halse?

Ian.

Terry Dorrity said:

Ian,

It looks like the same bridge I took my photo from, the bridge over Goldicote cutting on the Stratford to Banbury road. As far as I know it was the only bridge crossing such a deep cutting. However, there were quite a lot of us on that bridge for the run towards Woodford Halse and although many would have left quickly to see the train again further along the line, in my case at Kineton, I'm surprised there are so few people in the shot. Perhaps it was taken from the Stratford side of the bridge when the train returned. Dick Blenkinsop is, I believe, still around. He has had quite a number of photos published. Perhaps he even looks at this site from time to time.  

Regards,

Terry

Terry,

Thanks very much for your assistance and your comments about tours. I am very interested in SLS tours including joint with other societies and help the SLS with an archive of images and documents of those tours. This may not be appropriate for the SMJ Forum although I can be contacted at ianclark142@yahoo.co.uk.

Ian.

Further to photos I have already posted of the events of 24/4/65 and the comments on my page I can state categorically that apart from the demolition trains there was NO further traffic over the Stratford - Burton Dassett section after the "Farewell Special. The area civil engineer had decreed that the line would be unfit for use after 25/4/65 and that was why the tour was arranged in such a hurry. The main reason for this decision was that most of the track at Stratford was controlled and protected by complex electrical interlocking that relied on track circuits. These had been dormant since January 1965 and the railhead was getting a heavy coating of rust preventing reliable actuation. The shunt to turn the special had to be completed under Inspector's supervision with some signals passed at danger as Evesham Road Box could not get an electrical release on some of his levers. As the SMJ route joined a passenger carrying line at Stratford Racecourse the trap points were clipped open and locked after 24/4/65. Terry Dorrity comments about the pannier tank assisting 44188 into Stratford and indeed it helped in the complicated shunt at Old Town prior to the final eastbound departure. The crew of 6435 offered to double head what was a heavy train for a class four goods up Goldicote bank but ex LMS Stratford driver Ted Hewins refused the offer muttering that the last thing he wanted on such an occasion was help from the Great Western! My photo of the train passing Clifford Sidings cannot reproduce the sound that 44188 was making but it was an all out attack. The crew said afterwards that the coating of rust on the railhead had saved the day. The afternoon was dull and there was intermittent rain but it was a fine tribute to the SMJ. I chose Clifford rather than Goldicote overbridge because I thought it would be a bit crowded there. I did catch the train up as it stopped at Kineton for a little while and most of the Stratford area enthusiasts were in attendance.  

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