‘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

2F WDs working to Bristol 3 Replies

In the 1950s/60s we had a regular working of a 2F Woodford Halse WD to Bristol. I was always intrigued by how they got there. Does anybody know if that was via the SMJR please?Continue

Started by Bob Bishop. Last reply by Bob Bishop yesterday.

DVD on the SMJ 2 Replies

HiI’m looking for a copy of the film “The Stratford Upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway” edited by Hillside Publishing some time ago.This company is now out of business and cannot be called upon to get a copy.If possible, I would wish to…Continue

Started by Jack Freuville. Last reply by David Mead Nov 24.

Talk to Welford Local History Society

I live in Welford on Avon which now incorporates the former Binton Station with its recent housing development.The local history society is currently planning its 2022/23 programme of events and talks and would be keen to include a talk on the…Continue

Started by John Read Oct 8.

Broom Junction station site for sale 2 Replies

Great opportunity for an SMJ enthusiast perhaps.  I'm not sure what you could actually do with this site though!…Continue

Started by Simon Stevens. Last reply by Simon Stevens Oct 4.

SMJ photos

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Bletchley loco 75036 waiting to back onto a cattle train at Banbury Merton Street in 1957

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Comment by Barry Dunwoody on June 16, 2009 at 11:23
Hi Dick,
Yes we spent most of our time all through the 1950's watching GWR traffic through Banbury. I only saw 4 Stars - Princesses Alexandra and Margaret and Glastonbury and Malmesbury Abbey's. They worked the Paddington- Birmingham-Wolverhampton-Chester-Birkenhead trains along with the Old Oak Common and Wolverhampton Kings, Castles, Counties and Halls. I didn't see any Saints working but the last one was towed through Banbury goods yard with no connecting rods and no number or name plates. It had Saint David chalked on the side and was definitely a Saint as it had the large driving wheels.
We often went to the station to see the 9.16 pm which carried on up the Great Central line. Swindon works used it to run in newly overhauled locos which were immaculate and came off at Banbury to be replaced by a V2 or a K3 which had brought the evening fish train from Grimsby. As Swindon was building BR 9F's we got to see brand new locos on this train.
The other popular train to see was the 2.48 pm York to Bournemouth - of course we could only see it in school holidays - it was often brought in by one of the Leicester A3's the most common were Enterprise and Sir Frederick Banbury. Until 1953 Flying Scotsman was a Leicester engine and sometimes worked this train. After turning on the Banbury turntable, this loco would haul the Banbury to Woodford local. Doesn't quite fit with its glamorous reputation!
On our visits to Woodford we always tried to be on the platform when the South Yorkshireman and the Master Cutler came thundering through. They were always hauled by a Leicester or Neasden A3. There was always traffic coming and going in the goods yard - mostly WD 2-8-0's and O4's. On the shed there would be B1's, V2's, K3's and the odd L1 tank. We sometimes caught the train to Rugby and then sat under the bridge where the GC crossed the Midland main line so we could see both.
Where were you based?

Barry
Comment by Dick Bodily on June 15, 2009 at 13:04
Barry

There was a SMJR siding at Aston-le-Walls from 1910 to 1953.

The cattle train hauled by the Standard 4 was almost certainly Bletchley bound via Buckingham and Verney Junction as the Towcester -Cockley Brake section had been lifted by 1957 ( closed in 1951).

The yellow diamond railcars were numbered as you said.

Did you spend anytime watching the GWR at Banbury General, if so you probably saw Stars in the early 50s? You probably saw all sorts of interesting stuff at Woodford in 1955 too.

Dick




Dick
Comment by Andy Thompson on June 14, 2009 at 16:12
Fantastic Barry! If you don't mind I've copied it to the SMJ memories page. That's just what we want on www.smj.me - memories of those who were actually there! Thanks

Andy
Comment by Barry Dunwoody on June 14, 2009 at 7:30
Hi Andy,
I’ve finally got round to writing down what I remember of SMJ related things.
I was born in Banbury and from an early age spent every weekend with my gran in Horley on the farm. The fields stretched from the village almost to Wroxton and were both sides of the Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway (OIR), so I became interested in railways at an early age. My Uncle Dennis worked on the OIR as well as on the farm and when he went in the army they sent him to Longmoor Army Camp where he learnt to drive Austerity 0-6-0ST’s – he also spent some time in Malaya where he drove locos.
My first memory of the SMJ was when he took me to CAD Kineton to see one of his army mates from Longmoor who was driving army locos at Kineton. While we were there I remember a short passenger train with maroon coaches going past and also a goods train – the locos were probably 3F or 4F’s. I think this would have been about 1950.
Later Uncle Dennis came out of the army and went back to the OIR as a driver. He usually drove Peckett 0-6-0ST ‘Allan’. I rode the footplate with him many times between Wroxton and the bridge over the road between Horley and Wroxton where I left my bike. He made an unofficial stop to drop me off! It was fairly easy for him to get going again with a full load of iron ore as it was downhill to the level crossing over the road to Hanwell.
From 1955 on I was a keen trainspotter and often cycled to Woodford Halse via Byfield. Most of the goods traffic we saw on the SMJ was pulled by 3F’s and 4F’s although on one occasion I remember a Saltley ‘Crab’ on a longish goods.
We often combined fishing with trainspotting and I remember fishing in the canal at Fenny Compton when an 8F came past with a train of low wagons with army vehicles on. Presumably it was heading for Kineton.
We often went to Bletchley by train from Banbury Merton Street, the early morning train usually hauled by 80042. The coaches were non corridor and I remember on one occasion an old man with a pig got into a compartment near us at Farthinghoe and got off with it at Brackley Old Town! We always looked out at Cockley Brake junction to see if anything was coming off the SMJ – I remember seeing a 4F a couple of times with a train of empty cattle wagons.
From sometime in 1956, two single coach railcars were introduced but they only ran between Banbury and Buckingham. We had to change there to the old steam hauled trains! I think the railcars were numbered M79900 and M79901.
Cattle trains often left Banbury Merton Street hauled by Bletchley locos. I have posted a photo I took of 75036 waiting to back onto a cattle train at Merton Street. I don’t know if any of these trains went onto the SMJ or went to Bletchley.
We also cycled often to Roade and Blisworth. We mostly stayed in the cutting to see both main line and Northampton trains but could see the occasional 4F goods going over the ‘tin bridge’ mentioned by someone else.
We were young boys 12 or 13 years old in those days cycling all over the countryside and as someone else remarked you wouldn’t let that happen now.
My last connection with the SMJ was in the 1970’s when I helped out on the farm with my father-in-law at Aston-le-Walls. The farm had fields on both sides of the track and we used the track bed for tractor access to the fields. I kept bees at this time and had six hives on the side of the track bed.
There was a coal merchant in Aston owned by the Cooknell family. Until closure of the SMJ they told me that their coal was delivered by rail. I’m not sure how this worked as I don’t think there was a siding at Aston.

Barry Dunwoody

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