‘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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I have recently been transcribing the 1949 Freight Working Time Table for the SM&JR route  from copies taken of the volume in the National Archives into a spreadsheet, with the intent of merging this with the Passenger WTT for the same period so as to get a full picture of regular movements on the line in that period.

(Rail 912/8 Freight WTT BR LMR Midland Division, May 23rd to Sept 25th inclusive 1949)

Several of the time tabled movements refer to a motor trolley, running as follows.

Up Train 7

(a.m.) 

Byfield dep. 8: 5

Woodford West Junc dep. 8*10

Blakesley arr. 8*27

Blakesley dep. 8*29

Towcester arr. 8*39

Up train 9

Q: Runs when required

Kineton dep. 8 20

Burton Dassett arr. 8*28

Burton Dassett dep.8*30

Fenny Compton arr. 8 40

Down Train 9

Q: Runs when required

Kineton dep. 8:53

Ettington 9*01

Clifford Sidings 9:12

Down Train 11

Q: Runs when required

Byfield 9:15

Byfield Ironstone Sidings arr. 9:30

These, to my mind, raise a number of questions.

I've found te section on motor trolleys in Dick Bodilly's 'Last Year of the SMJ pickups' on this website...

Under "Breakdown's and inspections" it says...

"PW staff were still using a hand propelled trolley to travel to locations along the line in the early 50’s. Much earlier in SMJ and LMS days my grandfather used a bicycle type device, probably the one pictured in Jordan’s book.  A small petrol engine trolley took the place of the old ‘handpump’. It was stored at either Towcester or Byfield. Proper inspection trains were much less frequently seen and a variety of locos appeared on them ranging from Fowler 2Ps to modern BR Standard types."

Does this mean that these trolley workings (or possible their returns) were being used for PW inspections?

In the WTT they do not appear to have timetabled return workings. Does this mean that they travelled out as a timed path, but worked back inspecting the line in clear paths  as required?

As there are both an up and a down path from each of Byfield and Kineton, was it a case of 'either /or'? i.e. a single vehicle at each location, providing the up or the down or neither service as required.

Finally, was one vehicle stored at Kineton at this period, rather than Towcester? 

  

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During the war if not later there were still 'linesmen' daily walking sections. I recall regularly seeing the little motorised trolley passing Blakesley in the 50s. Often it had two or more PW men aboard. I got the impression that they were being taken to whereabouts they were working but could have been wrong. I never actually saw a loco hauled inspection train myself but other people did.

This photograph of a motorised trolley being man-handled to / from its home in the hut alongside the line was taken by H C Casserley at Byfield in June 1958, and so fits in with the 1949 WTT info.

I'm sure that earlier, and less substantial, trolleys could just be lifted on and off the line anywhere as required to allow trains to pass, but presumably these motorised versions would have been too heavy for that, so must have been parked up in sidings when the line needed to be cleared?

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the LMS introduced these motorised trolleys onto the SMJ in the 1930s, so Dick's mention of hand propelled versions still being used in the 1950s is interesting - perhaps they were used on shorter distance jobs?

Altogther an interesting subject  - I'd never considered them being included in WTT's at all !

There was a hut for a similar trolley at the Woodford Junction too. It is visible in contemporary photos and we found some evidence for the sleeper "road" too on our "Tour" (Was that really 5 years ago now??)

I have S&T Documents dated 24/2/42 relating to Proposed widening Stratford-on-Avon - Clifford Sidings which show Kineton as home station of the  " Flying Gang" the term used for the P.W. So at this period the trolley was based  at Kineton. At what date the Motor economic  system continued to I don't know but the Gangers  Key Occupation  instruments were still around at closure. The sections went from Kineton Station in each direction so two occupation instruments were provided.  Also I seem to recollect that a hut was provided for the trolley at Kineton. 


Regarding the hut, a diagram I have seen has a building marked as a P Way Garage close to the track. I suspect this is the motor trolley hut, although one photograph appears to show a hut on the opposite side of the track from that shown in the diagam.


alwyn sparrow said:

I have S&T Documents dated 24/2/42 relating to Proposed widening Stratford-on-Avon - Clifford Sidings which show Kineton as home station of the  " Flying Gang" the term used for the P.W. So at this period the trolley was based  at Kineton. At what date the Motor economic  system continued to I don't know but the Gangers  Key Occupation  instruments were still around at closure. The sections went from Kineton Station in each direction so two occupation instruments were provided.  Also I seem to recollect that a hut was provided for the trolley at Kineton. 

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