‘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

Video: Stratford-upon-Avon to Towcester

I have added a video to the site's video page.https://youtu.be/DHCoijWc_t0Continue

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Started by Graham Ward Jul 28.

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.

SMJ photos

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Go on then guy's! Dates!! Wasn't the Olney branch lifted 58/59? so it must be pre that, the M1 opened 1959. M1 looks very clean and new here. Thanks to Kieron for sending it in

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Comment by Andy Thompson on May 19, 2010 at 20:23

Comment by Barry Taylor on November 9, 2009 at 10:50
I can echo all of Robin's comments below - and just add a few notes.
8F's and 9F's were allowed along the Rstone to Towcester section from late 1956 (Railway Observer Jan 57) and a crosti (original pre-conversion?) passed that way in mid January.
The R.O also reported in early 1958 that the Rstone to Towcester section 'was to be closed for a 6 month period whilst engineering works were completed in connection with the M1 construction', and that traffic would be diverted via Blisworth and Northampton'
During early August 1958 over 1000 surplus mineral wagons were placed on the east end of the section extending to beyond Roade . However by May 1960 these must have gone as there were then over 300 old coaches stored there awaiting scrap - including an LNW 12 wheel centre corridor saloon M816 (I have a photo of this on the bridge at Quinton - will upload it it shortly) I remember being amazed to discover these when cycling over the line at Horton)
Work commenced on dismantling the bridge at Roade 22/8/60
By 14/5/61 only a dozen coaches remained - and lines of wagons replaced them, including a line of bolsters near the M1 bridge (I remember walking along these for what seemed like miles! )
By Nov 63 over 600 wagons had been removed for use by collieries leaving the line clear - but strangely the R.O reports that 'the obstruction just west of the M1 bridge has now been removed' !
Maybe this was to allow track recovery as I also have a photo of an 8F on a track lifting train (near Piddington) on 30/8/64
Nice to see that photo from Robin - shots along this stretch are pretty scarce !
Comment by Ron Fisher on November 8, 2009 at 17:54
I can remember seeing stored wagons down on the line when going over the M1 bridge in the (very) early sixties. At least that justifed the cost of building the bridge! These had gone, at least from that section, by the time I took the 1963 shot.

Comment by Andy Thompson on November 8, 2009 at 17:50
Comment by Robin Cullup on November 8, 2009 at 17:44
Re the M1 bridge - from conversations I have had with various railwaymen I understand that the last train on the Towcester - Ravenstone Wood section ran sometime in April 1958. The section was then "temporarily closed" from mid-May and the tablet for the section was withdrawn from Towcester signalbox at 8.30 am on 28 June 1958 and the section formally closed. The SLS Journal reports that the branch is now no longer required by BR -but I have been told that the track was to remain in situ as there was a possibility of traffic resuming - but as the type of traffic using this part of the SMJ was rapidly vanishing from the network this was not to be. As we all know the line was then used for the storage of surplus wagons and coaching stock and I well remember seeing some of these wagons being propelled over the "Tin Bridge" at Roade by a WD 2-8-0.
In August 1960 buffer stops were erected each side of the bridge (the Tin Bridge, as we called it) over the LNW at Roade prior to its removal. This made the line into two long sidings. In 1962 it was reported that there were over 1200 empty wagons stored on the line. Even "9F" 2-10-0s penetrated the eastern section moving the stored stock, but by September 1964 track-lifting was under way. Your further comments and information
would oblige.

Robin Cullup
Comment by Ron Fisher on November 8, 2009 at 15:40
Here's a link to a picture I took on the 10th August, 1963 : http://ronfisher.fotopic.net/p55122552.html

Ron Fisher.
Comment by Donald Cook on November 8, 2009 at 14:23
It's ironic that when this bridge was built the line was already finished. Must have cost the builders a pretty penny. When we cycled under it in 1976 it was used as a cowshed.
Comment by Andy Thompson on November 8, 2009 at 13:43
I will never be surprised in what turns up!


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