‘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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towcester station

April 1950
and June 1953

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Comment by adrian vaughan on September 3, 2009 at 18:48
Hello Gary,
Thanks for your very close dating - thanks to the famous'Cooke Book'.
Those views of Towcester are the only ones I have.

Comment by Barry Taylor on September 3, 2009 at 15:27
From other photos that I have, it would appear that your final shot is dated somewhere between June 1956 and 27th June 1957 - the three doll bracket signal lost one of its arms during that period. Reference to R A Cooke's Track Layout Diagrams shows a'new layout' as from 30/12/1956 so that is probably the answer - it involved removing one of the through platform lines and a rearranged track and signalling layout
Incidentally, the small wooden hut shown to the left of the view was rumoured to be the signal cabin removed from Greens Norton Junction when the two lines to Blakesley and Cockley Brake were changed to operate as two parallel single lines from Towcester, instead of a physical junction at G Norton. I don't know whether this is fact or fiction, but it does look like a signal cabin - if so it had been there for a long time ! I photographed it in closer detail around 1964 so it probably lasted right through to the end.
Comment by Dick Bodily on September 2, 2009 at 16:06

Great set of pictures, did you take them yourself? Can't help with the date of the last picture, but pretty certain that the train with the flag was taken on Coronation Day June 1953( not 52). The Banbury line had already been closed, so this train must be working the old EWJR route. Strange that the engine hasn't been turned. There was a weekday schools service to Byfield which was usually 2 coaches (the second coach usually being left at Blisworth the rest of the day) and may have been pulled tender first as it was a shorter journey, I'm too young to remember such details although I did travel on the SMJ as a small child. Perhaps it ran on Coronation Day with just one coach as there wouldn't ahve been any schoolchildren. Looks like a 3F, they were preferred to 4Fs by most Northampton and Blisworth (signing on point) crewsfor SMJR services. Note the LMS headed noticeboards and hawkeye totem.

Comment by adrian vaughan on September 2, 2009 at 14:55
The signal box, station ext. and stn.plat without train I know are 4/1950. The view with a train would seem to be Coronation time so say 6/52. I would like some expert person to put an approximate date to the final view.

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