‘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"


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.


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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Ironstone links to the SMJR and LNWR at Gayton & Blisworth

I've drawn up this map with reference to Tonks' maps and also to evidence found when Andy & I visited the area in 2010. There were three main phases to the movement of ore by main line rail.

Firstly, a small pit was opened just north of Bridges 4 & 5 prior to 1884. Ore was tranported away via the East & West but how this was done is a mystery. The cutting is very deep here. Tonks has suggested that the narrow gauge tipper bodies were somehow lifted from their frames and sledged down the cutting to be loaded by hand into  main line trucks in a siding at a point between the two bridges. (Mystery A on map)

Secondly, an extensive narrow gauge system, later developed, unloaded tippers from a cable worked incline which crossed the E&WJR over the wooden bridge No 2 into standard gauge trucks on the Gayton Quarry main line. This line connected with the LNWR (West Coast main line) at Gayton Loop. There were extensive workings on either side of the SMJ over the  years by the Gayton Quarry,the Blisworth quarry linking up further east.  South of the double cable incline the narrow gauge was loco hauled with an engine shed near the incline, north of the incline it was horse worked. The Gayton Quarry standard gauge main line was loco worked, but later reverted to horse haulage!!!    Mystery B concerns Bridge 1A which crossed this line and whose pillars still remain and were photographed by Andy and myself in 2010. Was it a footbridge or did these pillars support a staithe like construction for unloading ore onto SMJR trains? It is known that the SMJR did at one time have a private siding variously described as Weldon's Siding or Blisworth Ironstone Siding on the up side of the SMJ roughly at this point and opposite the later R Thomas & Baldwin Blisworth Ironstone Sidings of LMS & BR days. This siding is not shown on any of Tonks' maps but he does mention a temporary link with the SMJR. Equally strangely he shows a photo of what appears to be Bridge 1A which he states was used for unloading narrow gauge tipplers into Gayton Quarry standard gauge line trucks. If the picture is indeed Bridge 1A then it is nowhere near any of the known narrow gauge lines nor the chutes from the inclined plain near Bridge 2. Further evidence that Bridge 1A might have been used to unload ore to the SMJR trains is provided by the fact that it was officially described as a tramway bridge and also by the narrow gauge tippler body Andy & I discovered not far from its location.

Thirdly, the much later Richard Thomas & Baldwin Blisworth Quarry's standard gauge steam worked line linked with the SMJ (LMS as it was then) at the well remembered Blisworth Ironstone exchange sidings as shown on the map. Their quarry was far to the south east near the old A43 by Rectory Farm.

                                                                                                               Dick Bodily

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Comment by Dick Bodily on February 24, 2013 at 13:23

Much of this map and accompanying notes has now been proven incorrect so I will shortly be replacing it with a new updated page. In the meantime for more accurate info refer to Nigels discussion 'Track Doubling under Bridges 2 & 3 at Gayton,

Comment by Stephen on February 20, 2013 at 18:57

I think that the isolated track is narrow gauge and it belongs to Gayton Wood Mines. There were tipping shutes, so the stone could be loaded for transportation, transport in the shallow pits was done by horse. Tonks make reference to tipping shutes all along the N & B.

The stone was not loaded into tipplers. It would have been loaded into wooden wagons probably each one carrying 12tons.


The narrow gauge tipper wagons would probably been wooden,  the shutes too could well have been wooden.


There is nothing really permanant about these pits with the stone so close to the surface, it would have soon been worked out.


Stephen Robbins

Comment by Dick Bodily on February 19, 2013 at 20:58


Have a look at my latest reply to Nigel's discussion


Having carefully studied the SMJ Bridges and Sidings List on this website and bearing in mind what Andy & I found on our visit I'm now of the opinion that Tonks may have got it wrong about ore being taken out at point Mystery A during the 1880s and that it was taken out across Bridge 1a firstly to a siding on the down side where Baldwin' s siding later was then later to a siding on the up side, both of which were called Wheldon's and later Blisworth Ironstone Siding. Bridge 1a also crossed a stream between the quarry and the E&WJR line.


Comment by Mike Burrows on February 19, 2013 at 14:30

Before I 'found' Tonks I walked the track from Bridge 5 to 3.  I noted but did not photograph at "Mystery A" what I took to be the foundations of a platform on the South Side.  Several large posts that have flat tops in a straight row with the right height for a platform surface.  My first reaction after finding Tonks was that this would have been a drop off platform for quarry workers arriving by train but it could have been something to do with loading too.

Mike Burrows

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