Advice for people wanting to find out more about the SMJR
The definitive account of the line can be found in Barry Taylor's 'The Stratford-upon-Avon and & Midland Junction Railway (Volumes 1 and 2) '. Now Volume 2 has been published in 2018 Barry has provided an exceptionally well-researched detailed 500 + page account of the line that has no equal. A true classic of railway literature. But if you are looking for a little book to give a good short overall account of the SMJR then J M Dunn's 1977 (completely revised and rewritten by JWP Routledge) account is the one to look for, the original 1952 version is nowhere near as good. Riley & Simpson's book is flawed by annoying spelling errors and has a couple of misleading captions but has some interesting photographs especially of the latter days of the line. Jordan's book is written from the viewpoint of a personal acquaintance with the Stratford end of the system and is well illustrated.
Also have a good look at the various articles on this website, Go to the 'All the pages' option on the Index link for the full list of articles. Much of the information in these pages is not available anywhere in print. There are lists of loco types, preserved SMJ route locos, lists of sidings and bridges, details of railtours, railwaymen's memories of the SMJ and much more.
“The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway (Volume 1)”- Barry Taylor (Lightmoor Press 2017) covers the constituent lines that were to form the SMJ up to 1909 in great detail with lots of 'new' photographs.
“The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway (Volume 2)”- Barry Taylor (Lightmoor Press 2018) covers the history from 1923 on and includes many colour photographs.
“The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway” – J M Dunn (Oakwood Press 1952).
“The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway” – J M Dunn - completely rewritten and extended by JWP Routledge 2nd Edition (Oakwood Press1977) - NB This is far superior to his original book is more than twice as long and is the one to get!)
“The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway" – A Jordan (Oxford PC 1982) - from a Stratford pespective.
“A History of The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway” – Riley & Simpson (Lamplight Publications 1999) - nice pictures but several irritating errors.
“The Northampton & Banbury Junction Railway” – S Jenkins (Oakwood Press 1990) - an excellent account of the N&BJR.
“Branch Lines Around Towcester” – Mitchell & Smith (Middleton Press 2008)
“Towcester Memories of the Slow, Miserable & Jolty”- R Stevens (Towcester LRS 1994)
"The Signalling of the SMJ" - M Christensen (self published)
Useful information about the SMJR in other books that are not specifically about the SMJR
"Track Layout Diagrams of the G.W.R. and BR W.R." - R.A. Cooke (1975. revised 1996) - Section 29 shows all the SMJ routes
"LMS Sheds Vol 4" - Hawkins & Reeve (Wild Swan 1984) has a chapter about SMJR sheds with useful information and pictures of Stratford 21D
"The Banbury to Verney Junction Branch”- B Simpson (Lamplight Publications 1994)
“The Last Years of The Great Central Main Line”- R Robotham (Ian Allan 1986) has a Woodford Halse chapter by Rex Partridge which has info about the SMJ
“The Railways of Northamptonshire” – David Blagrove (Wharfside Publications 2005) has a chapter on the SMJ which outlines the line’s history
“The Ironstone Quarries of The Midlands – Part 3 Northampton Area”- Eric S Tonks ( Runpast 2009) has information about Blisworth Ironstone
“The Ironstone Quarries of The Midlands – Part 2 The Oxfordshire Field”- Eric S Tonks ( Runpast) has information about Byfield Ironstone
"Track Layout Diagrams of the G.W.R. and BR W.R." - R.A. Cooke - (1975) Section 29 shows all the SMJ routes
"Shakespeare's Railways" (Mid England Books 1994) - John Boynton -Chapter 3 "Shunt 'em a Mile and Jolt 'em" is on the SMJ with some nice pictures of the Ro-Railer and some of T E Williams shots amongst others.
"Branch Lines of Warwickshire" (Alan Sutton 1994) - C G Maggs - has a section on Broom Jcn to Fenny Compton with some interesting photos including some "on train" shots by P Q Treloar whilst on a brake van ride. There is also a section on the Edge Hill Light Railway.
"Discovering Lost Railways" - F G Cockman (Shire Publications 1973) has an SMJR chapter.
"The Trains Now Departing - 16 Excursions into Lost Delights of Britain's Railways" Michael Williams (Preface Publishing 2014) - slightly tongue in cheek chapter about SMJR.
"Northamptonshire Steam" - Michael Walsh (Rails 2016) - a short section on the SMJR with colour pictures by Tom Tomalin and others
"T Williams -The lost Colour Collection Vol 1" (Irwell Press 2017) - includes 15 large format SMJR photos along with many WR photos, several taken at Stratford .
"An Historical Survey of Selected LMS Stations (Volume One)" – Dr R Preston Hendry & R Powell Hendry (Oxford Publishing Co. 1982)_-. It includes information on Banbury Merton Street, Byfield - 2 pages, including track plan, signal diagram and 3 photos, Ettington - 2 pages, including track plan, signal diagram and 4 photos. Fenny Compton - 3 pages, including track plan, 2 signal diagrams and 4 photos. Kineton - 2 pages, including track plan, signal diagram and 4 photos.
“Warwickshire’s Lost Railways” – David Blagrove - (Stenlake Publishing Ltd 2015)- contains 1 page of text and 9 pages of photos, including images of: Bidford, Binton, Stratford (x3), Kineton (x4), EHLR, Burton Dassett and Fenny Compton (x3).
"Coal Dust to Computers" - Ralph Radford - (E-TYPE Press 2018) - the memories of a Woodford Halse fireman although mainly about life at Woodford MPD (2F) and firing on the GCR route contains detailed accounts of firing trips westward from Woodford on the SMJ with Woodford legend Dick Hutt, including having to split a stalled train on Ettington Bank.
" Forgotten Railway Infrastructure 1922 - 1934" - Kevin Robertson (Crecy Publishing Ltd 2017) (ISBN 987190928723). Photographs from the Edward Wallis Collection showing images of Broom Junction, Stratford (SMJ),Towcester, Blisworth, Cockley Brake Junction, Blakesley, Salcey Forest & Stoke Bruern.
Some limited information about the SMJR in other books
“The Ironstone Quarries of The Midlands – Part 1 Introduction”- Eric S Tonks ( Runpast)
"The Edge Hill Light Railway" - E S Tonks (Published by Author1948).
"The GCR in LNER Days Vol 2" - Jackson & Russell (Ian Allan 1976) has a chapter about the Stratford slip coach and its sad demise at Woodford Halse.
"Lost Railways of Northamptonshire” – Geoffrey Kingscott (Countryside Books 2008) which concentrates on the remaining evidence of these lost lines has a chapter on the SMJ
“Lost Railways of Warwickshire” - Geoffrey Kingscott (Countryside Books 2009) – covers the SMJ in Warks but contains several errors
“A History of the Railways of Northamptonshire” – Peter Butler (Silver Link 2006) has a short chapter on the SMJ
“Shed by Shed Part 1 London Midland” – Tony Walmsey (St Petroc InfoPublishing 2010) gives details of all locos allocated to 21D ie. engines that worked the SMJ regularly from 1950, also includes Northampton, Bedford, Gloucester Barnwood & Woodford allocations.
“Off Northampton Shed” – Derek Mutton (Wild Swan Publications 2006) mentions a couple of firing trips on the SMJ
“The Blakesley Miniature Railway and the Bartholomew Family" – Dr Bob Tebb (Silver Link 2009) has some references to E&WJ and SMJ
“A Countryman’s Tale” – Sydney Tyrell (self published) a Moreton Pinkney local history contains useful information on the building of the E & WJR and the GCR in the Moreton area, an extract was published in ‘Forward’ the GCR Society magazine, date unknown
“Beside the Crooked Brook” – Doug Blake (self published 2009) a local history of Blakesley has chapters on The SMJ and Blakesley Miniature Railway
“Astride the Hill of Knowledge" – Doug Blake (self published 2013) a local history of the district around Blakesley has a section on The SMJ which I helped Doug write.
“LMS Branch Lines England & Wales” – C J Gammell (OPC 1997) has 7 b/w pictures
“Specials in Steam” – B Stephenson & P Russell (Ian Allan 1968) has 6 b/w pictures of specials on SMJ
“Branch Line Album 2nd Series” – P W Whitehouse (Ian Allan 1969) has 1 b/w picture
“London Midland Steam Finale” – Michael S Welch (Runpast 2000) has one colour picture of 48305 at Towcester
“Steam Nostalgia Around Northampton”- R Coleman & J Rajczonek (Northamptonshire Libraries 1987) has 6 b/w photos
“Steaming into Northamptonshire” - R Coleman & J Rajczonek (Northamptonshire Libraries 1988) has 13 b/w photos
“Railway Images Around Northamptonshire” - R Coleman & J Rajczonek (W D Wharton 1992) has 9 b/w photos inc. 3 of early E&WJR period railway trains and Evan Dines feature
“Steam Railways in Colour Around Northamptonshire” - R Coleman & J Rajczonek (W D Wharton 1993) has 2 colour photos
“Northamptonshire’s Lost Railways” – David Blagrove (Stenlake Pub.) has 6 b/w photos
“Northamptonshire’s Railway Stations on old picture postcards” – A Rice & A Swift ( Reflections on a Bygone Age 2008) has 11 b/w photos
"British Railways Past & Present - Warwickshire" - Roger Siviter (The Nostalgia Collection 2001) has 3 pictures of the Dukedog railtour at Stratford, Fenny Compton and Kineton plus 2 of Broom Junction
“The Trains We Loved” - C Hamilton Ellis (paperback McMillan 1971)
"A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain Vol 7" - Rex Christiansen David & Charles 1973 SBN 0 7153 6093 0
Also Vol 9 by Robin Leleux David & Charles 1976 SBN 0 7153 7165 7
" Waterways to Stratford" - C Hadfield & J Norris (David & Charles 1962)
"The Stratford & Moreton Tramway" - John Norris (Railway & Canal Historical Society 1987)
"The Chronicles of Boulton’s Siding" - A R Bennett (Locomotive Publishing Co.1927)
"The Dillen" (Elm Tree Books ref 0 241 10558 7) - has info about the canal's links with the Moreton Tramway
"Great Central" Vols 1,2,3 - George Dow (Ian Allan 1959) - this nowadays very expensive out of print history has very limited references to the E&W and SMJR
"Britain' s Railway Liveries 1825-1948" - Ernest F. Carter (ISBN 0 287 66989 0). It was first published in 1952 by Burke Publishing Company Limited. The second edition was published in October 1963 and the third edition was published in January 1980. Contains info about SMJ liveries.
"Lost Railways" by F G Cockman (Shire Publications)- a superb essay like resume of the SMJ.
"Industrial Locomotives of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire & Bedfordshire." Robin Waywell. (Industrial Railway Society. 2002. ISBN 1 901556 23 9)(Hardback) see contractors locos for construction and lifting of the line.
"Bletchley - Town of Trains" - A E Grigg (Barracuda 1980) has some info concerning the Towcester - Banbury branch.
"Cross Country Steam" - Stanley Creer (Ian Allan Ltd 1979, ISBN 0 7110 0928 7) has 3 pictures of the SMJ.
"Central Ammunition Depot - Kineton 1942 - 1992" ( publisher & date unknown)
"The Rise and Fall of British Railways Branch and Minor Lines" - John Vaughan (Haynes) has 1 picture.
"Railways in Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough" - Andrew Swift (Yesterday's Northamptonshire)
"Northamptonshire Railway stations" - Alan Rice and Andrew Swift (Yesterday's Northamptonshire) .
"Banbury And Cheltenham Direct Railway'' - Stanley Jenkins, Bob Brown and Neil Parkhouse (Lightmoor Press 2004.)
"The Rise and Fall of British Railways - Branch and Minor Lines" - John Vaughan (Haynes).
''Mainline To Industry''- Frank Jones (Lightmoor Press1998) ISBN 1 899889 02 7
- details of two locos sold into industry by E&WJR and SMJR
"Railway Blunders" - Adrian Vaughan ( Ian Allan Publishing 2003 ; paperback version 2008 (ISBN 978 0 7110 3169 2) A short section on the SMJ route on pages 78-81.
"The Last Years of Steam Around The Midlands - From The Photographic Archive of the late A.J. Maund" - Michael Clemens (Fonthill Media 2013) - has 2 pictures of 'Chiltern 200' Railtour
"The Redditch and Evesham Line" - Bob Yate (Oakwood Press 2015) - some limited information about Broom Junction
"Great Western Steam in the Midlands" - Michael Mensing (Bradford Barton 1973) - has 1 picture of train on Stratford SMJ to GWR Loop
"The Chilterns and Cotswolds" Davis and Grant (David & Charles 1977) has a few pictures of the SMJ
"Warwickshire Lime & Cement Works Railways” - Sydney A Leleux (Oakwood Press 2014) info about Ettington Limeworks
"Junctions at Banbury" - Barrie Trinder (Banbury Historical Society 2017) has several references to the SMJ and much about Merton Street
The Railway Magazine - November 1902 - Vol 11 p393 - part of T R Perkins 'The Railways of Warwickshire' covers the E&WJR.
The Railway Magazine - April 1910 - Mr Russell Willmott, Traffic manager and Engineer SMJ is interviewed by the RM.
The Railway Magazine - April 1933 - D S M Barrie describes the SMJ.
The Railway Magazine - August 1952 - "To South Wales via Towcester" by Michael Robbins.
The Railway Magazine - April 1956 - "On the SMJ by Freight Train" - D A Beacock (Headmaster of Towcester Grammar School at the time) - describing his footplate ride from Towcester to Stratford on the pick-up freight and back with much detail of the working.
The Railway Magazine - Vol 26 p265; Vol 30 p169; Vol 72 p235 ( NB. some of these may refer to already mentioned articles)
The Locomotive Magazine 1902 & November 1911
Railway Archive - issue 29 - ISSN 1477-5336 pages 25 - 30 - an article about early E&WJR locos.
Model Railway News-January 1964 pages 176 - 183 - details and plans of Ettington Station, suitable for modelling, plus a short article and 9 photos of the buildings.
Trains Illustrated - Feb 1952 - an article "The SMJ in Modern Times" (B Cooke), and another "The Banbury Branch" (O H Prosser)
Trains Illustrated - April 1952 - four interesting follow-up letters re the above.
Trains Illustrated (Sept 1960) “ New SMJ Connection at Stratford–on(sic)-Avon” – T E Williams photo feature
Steam World (May 2007) “Is that you, Butcher? (Part 2)” – David Butcher – a footplateman’s excellent account of the famous‘Wandering 1500 Railtour’, covering the SMJ section
Railway Bylines (December 2007) “The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway (Part 1)”- I C Coleford – a general article on the BR days
Railway Bylines (January 2008) “The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway (Part 2)” – D Cummings – a description of a journey made by E Ruck in 1951
Railway Bylines (March 2008) “Freeman’s Forays” – Leslie Freeman – photo feature with pictures of Towcester, Blakesley, Morton Pinkney and Woodford/Byfield area from 1964
Railway Bylines (March 2012) "The SMJ Revisited - A Personal View (Part 1)" - Barry Taylor - features the Ravenstone Junction to Towcester section.
Railway Bylines (April 2012) "The SMJ Revisited - A Personal View (Part 2)" - Barry Taylor - features the Towcester to Banbury section.
Railway Bylines (June 2012) "The SMJ Revisited - A Personal View Part 3)" - Barry Taylor - features the Towcester to Ettington section.
Railway Bylines (July 2012) "The SMJ Revisited - A Personal View Part 4)" - Barry Taylor - features the Ettington to Broom section.
Railway Bylines (July 2015) "Early Days at Byfield Ironstone Siding" - Barry Taylor - contains new research carried out at the Records Office, Kew by Barry.
Railway Bylines (November 2015) "Railway Journeys Never Made - SMJ Part 1 " - Barry Taylor - describes an imaginary journey from Northampton Castle to Stratford Old Town.
Steam Days (Jan 2009) – “Stratford–upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway 100 Years On” - Andy Thompson – a general history which focuses on the financial ‘ups and downs’ of the SMJ line
Midland Railway Society Journal No 41 (Autumn 2009) “Bedford to Gloucester via the SMJ” – Maurice Jeyes – describes a Bedford 14E lodging turn over the SMJ
Midland Railway Society Journal No 58 (Summer 2015) "Some notes on Ravenstone Wood Junction - Robin Cullup - Robin's research into workings through this link with the Midland Railway near Olney including workings to Northampton and to the SMJR
Steam Days (June 2010) “Byfield (S&MJR)" - Rex Partridge - about Byfield and also new information about Woodford – Stratford through freights of the early‘60s
British Railway Journal No. 76 (Wild Swan Publications) - "Towcester in the 1930s" - Bill Kendall and Chris Turner.
British Railway Journal No. 78 (Wild Swan Publications) - "Wappenham" - Bill Kendall Turner.
Forward (GCR Society Magazine - June 2011 )”The Great Central Railway and Shakespeare’s birthplace” – David Wrottesley – new information on early GCR through coaches and connections with the SMJ
Model Railway News September 1963 pages 27 - 29 - details and plans of the Ro-railer, suitable for modelling
Railway Modeller March 1968 and July 1968 - details and plans of Blakesey Station, suitable for modelling
Railway Archive No29 Lightmoor Press ISSN 1477-5336 - Barry Taylor's article "A French Farce in West Northamptonshire" about a fire involving the E&WJR's French 0-6-0 in 1875.
Railway World May 1976- good two page pictorial of the line in the late 50s/early 60s.
Best of British March 2017 - short article on the Ro-Railer
Magazine Articles with some references to the SMJ
The British Railway Journal No 70 (Wild Swan Publications) -Chris Turner- all about Banbury Merton Street.
LMS Journal - Special LMS Edition - "The Broom Connection" - Bob Essery - deals with both the Redditch - Ashchurch line and the SMJ to Stratford.
The Locomotive Magazine (15th May 1906) “Blakesley Hall Miniature Railway”
The Model Engineer and Electrician (5th July 1906) “The Blakesley Hall Miniature Railway”
Steam Days (October 1992) “Woodford Memories” – Clive Boardman – mentions firing WDs and a B16 on the SMJ
Back Track Feb 2005 Vol 19 p118
Railway Wonders of the World Part 21 - The Amalgamated Press Ltd June 21st 1935.
Locomotives Illustrated. "The Locomotives of the Smaller LMS Constituents - The Furness, Maryport & Carlisle, Wirral, C&WJR, KE and S&MJ Railways". April-June 2006 The basic information is on pages 5 and 6, although there are black and white photos of SMJ locos on pages 3,6,15-19.
Steam Days (June 2012) "Related Through Ironstone" - Rex Partridge - about Byfield & Charwelton Ironstone quarries.
British Railways Illustrated (April 2014) 'More on Northampton Shed' - Barry Taylor - a couple of snippits about the SMJ in this excellent general article about 2E in '49.
Railway Locomotives (October 1946) The LMSR Banbury Branches - Anthony J Bryant - contains details of workings from the SMJR as well as from the Bletchley Line
Meccano Magazine (August 1956) An account of the the SMJR railtour which began at Kings Cross with some reference to the route taken over the SMJR lines
“The Shakespeare Route – the SMJ” (Hillside Publishing) is the only DVD specifically about the SMJ
“Ian Lyman ‘s East Midlands” includes a trip along the SMJ to Woodford West
“Routes from Northampton” (Cine Rail) brief coverage of the SMJ but lots about Northampton inc 2E
“The Great Central – The Route Explored Vol 2” (TVP) not a lot on the SMJ but excellent coverage of trains at Woodford inc 2F, Charwelton & Catesby tunnel area
B & R Video's "No 25 East Midlands" - Jim Clemen - has footage of the Northampton to Bedford branch with shots of Olney and the shed and yard at Olney and the SMJR junction.
B & R Video's No8. "Great Central. Woodford Halse" - has the last steam special at Byfield Ironstone sidings. The Bagnall and the Avonside are seen stored in the open - no sign of the shed
B & R Video's No 15 "Gloucestershire & Warwicks" - SMJR Stratford to Woodford.
B & R Video's Vol 205 Ultimate Archive Steam Series – The Jim Clemens Collection No 32 - “London Midland Steam Miscellany No3” - The DVD includes colour footage of the SLS Farewell Rail Tour 24th April 1965 and shows nice views of Goldicote Cutting & Kineton. There are also short clips of both Olney & Ravenstone Wood Jnct.
On VHS only
Ivo Peters. "Ironstone Collection" a railway club seen visiting Byfield
Updated 29/01/2019 R Bodily
I've recently acquired Dunn's 1970s revised version (with 76 pages) of his Oakwood Press SMJR book and hadn't previously realised how far superior it is to his original 30 page effort published in the 50s. If like me you have the original and have always assumed that the revised edition was a slightly updated version then look it out as it is completely rewritten and packed with interesting information about workings and locos that didn't appear in the original.
Thanks Colin, now added to the list.
Another book that has three SMJR pictures in it is "Cross Country Steam" by Stanley Creer (Ian Allan Ltd 1979, ISBN 0 7110 0928 7).
Cheers Colin, Now included in list. Dick
I have in my railway book collection a book entitled "Track Layout Diagrams of the G.W.R. and BR W.R." - Section 29 all about the SMJ by R.A. Cooke. It was published in 1975 and shows all the SMJ routes as well as having a table at the back listing the closure dates.
Another magazine with useful information and photographs of locomotives of the SMJR is the April-June 2006 issue of Locomotives Illustrated. This is entitled "The Locomotives of the Smaller LMS Constituents - The Furness, Maryport & Carlisle, Wirral, C&WJR, KE and S&MJ Railways". The basic information is on pages 5 and 6, although there are black and white photos of SMJ locos on pages 3,6,15-19.
If you would like me to post this to you Dick for scanning on to the website then please email me with your postal address as I have no scanning facilities. Please return when finished with.
Whilst having another look through Earnest F. Carter' s book there is a short paragraph on liveries for the East and West Junction Railway. Details of both railways are as follows.
East and West Junction Railway (on page 221)
1908 - Some Midland brake vans were lettered "EWJR" for working over the East and West Junction Railway on the 3½ miles of this Company' s track on the route from Broom to London.
Locomotives were black, and dome casings were also painted black. Coaches were painted all over lake, and relieved only with a broad cream band at the waist-line.
Stratford -upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (on page 253)
1910 - Engines were painted black and lined out in yellow. Coaches were chocolate-coloured, with cream upper panels.
1914 - Locomotives were black and coaches crimson-lake.
1915 - Locomotives were crimson-lake, lined out in yellow. Underframes were black. Coaches were crimson-lake with cream upper panels, and lined out in red and yellow.
1918 - Locomotives were lake and black, lined in yellow. Coaches were crimson-lake lined out in gold and lettered "SMJ".
1922- Engines: black and lake, lined out yellow, coaches: lake, lined out in gold.
In the information in the paragraph on the same page it says " Before 1908 Mr Burke was locomotive superintendent, being followed in that year by Russell Willmott".
Thanks Colin & Duncan. have updated again 14/2/12 Dick
I'm sure several people would like to see such details. If you posted them here I could make up a new page for them. I know there are SMJ railway modellers amongst the members of this website.
The only reservation that I have is that Ernest F Carter was often slagged off in Trains Illustrated reviews of his books in the 60s as being not to careful with his researches. Whether this was justified or not I've no way of telling but at the time it seems that TI was having an all out campaign against his prolific output. I seem to remember holes were picked in this particular book, I don't know if anyone has copies of TI or RM or any other railway magazine for 1963, if so they could perhaps look up to see what was written in the reviews of the time.
May I add a further book title that has some useful information in it about the various liveries carried by the SMJR locomotives and carriages between 1910 and 1922. The book is entitled "Britain' s Railway Liveries 1825-1948" by Earnest F. Carter (ISBN 0 287 66989 0). It was first published in 1952 by Burke Publishing Company Limited. The second edition was publshed in October 1963 and the third edition was published in January 1980. Both the 1963 and 1980 editions were published by Harold Starke Limited.
If anybody would like me to post details of these Liveries on this discussion board please do not hesitate to ask.