Hello everyone, I've just signed up. I'm a lifelong railway enthusiast originally from Dorset; my earliest memory is of being on the train from Wareham to Swanage. I see a few familiar names on here so some of you may know me from the Scalefour Society and DEMU. I've lived in Bidford for 3.5 years now and am fascinated by the SMJ - can't get enough of T E Williams's wonderful photos of WDs and 9Fs trundling through the fields with long steel and ore trains.
Now my question, I took a walk down by the River Arrow in Broom yesterday. The railway bridge abutments are still there. Does anyone know of any photos of the bridge itself?
Sorry for a late reply but it has taken me sometime to check whether any image of the Arrow bridge is around. I can kick myself for never taking a record shot of it but film cost money to destitute teenagers and I recall that trying to include the bridge in any photos at Broom East were either difficult for the sun or the "feature" of the token collection for Stratford bound trains was a greater attraction and put the bridge behind the camera. I have a copy of every image taken by Tom Williams on the ex SMJ lines and none show the bridge. The reason for this would almost certainly be the sun as Tom would rarely take what he regarded as a secondary shot (ie non GW subject matter) in anything other than full sun. Although a Stratfordian Tom frustratingly took fewer than 250 b/w images on the ex SMJ lines out of his total of over 10,000 now held at NRM! In fact between 1951 & 1957 he only took, or chose to retain, 62 negatives on the ex SMJ lines, the majority of the images of the steel trains on the straight section near Luddington and between Clifford & Goldicote are late 1950's when we knew the Broom line was due for closure. An interesting aside to this is that when BR were faced with finding a solution to getting unbraked freight off the Banbury - Birmingham GW line to allow for the influx of extra passenger trains that were diverted during the electrification and rebuilding of Euston in the late 1950's they originally expected to divert over the existing Stratford - Broom West route onto the Midland Redditch - Ashchurch line. A briefing document dated 1955 gave details of the weights and speeds expected and the civil engineering report quickly revealed that two bridges The one over the Arrow on the SMJ and the one over the Avon near Evesham would need replacing. The general infrastructure of the Midland line was also run down and in a poor state. It was a cheaper solution to put the new chord line in at Stratford where although an investment in signalling would be needed the only civil engineering was crossing meadow land and the connection would be into what was still then a well used and maintained railway. If I find an image of the bridge I will post it.
I have found one image of the Arrow river bridge. It negative 7496 in the T E Williams b/w collection. Sorry I missed it on my first look! It shows 48436 crossing with an east bound partially fitted train of tippler empties. Date 28.2.60 and the river is in virtual flood on a very grey day. Rather head on I'm afraid but its the only shot so far! You can get copies of Tom's work from the photo archive at the NRM using the negative ref. Hope this helps. I cannot publish the image myself as it is copyright and as photos can be lifted from sites like this the NRM will no doubt moan.
Hope this is of help
Many thanks for your replies and for taking the trouble to search for photos of the Arrow bridge, I'm very pleased to learn that at least one picture exists and I'll look it up from the NRM.
I've just played my DVD copy of an old cine film of the SMJ and it closes with a clip of film taken from the back of a train passing through Binton station,crossing the bridge over the River Arrow and into Broom Junction. I'll see if I can make a copy of it as I don't think it is available for sale anywhere.
Sorry I can't help you Steven but sounds an interesting DVD Jim... If possible any chance I could have a copy too please?