‘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

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 on Friday.

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.

Salvaged track bolts 2 Replies

Does any know if the bridges were numbered? Similar to how the canals number thier's. Because a few weeks ago I was magnet fishing under the if I bridge behind the bellebaulk housing estate in Towcester and pulled out a number of chair bolts and I…Continue

Started by John Godwin. Last reply by Russ Firth Oct 3.

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I’ve just joined your group, having been pointed to you following Andy Thompson’s article in the January 2009 edition of Steam Days, a magazine which crossed my desk recently.

 

I was born in 1940 and grew up at Eastcote, a small village near Towcester. My first experience of the SMJ was when I was about 6 or 7, my best mate and I walked the 4 miles to the Blisworth overbridge adjacent to where the SMJ turntable was and peered through the fence at the small signalbox, the modest activity and the much busier main line. We were gone all day and although wandering freely as many kids did in those days, my parents were worried stiff. My mate’s dad eventually picked us up in his car and we had a good telling off, but nothing worse!

 

I attended Towcester Grammar School (as it then was) from 1951 to 1955 and well remember kids from Byfield, Moreton Pinkney and Blakesley travelling to school by train, walking from the station which was nearly a mile away along the A5 road and back again after school. When the passenger service was withdrawn in 1952, Judds Garage at Byfield provided a school bus service.

 

The school open air swimming pool was at the bottom of the playing field, just across the river Tove from the railway. If you had good eyesight you could decipher the numbers on engines as they occasionally passed, having left Towcester station westbound and crossed the rail bridge over the A5.

 

My main interest however was on the West Coast main line where I eventually helped out in signal boxes at Banbury Lane, Gayton, Heyford and Blisworth. I got to know the signalling regulations, bell codes, timetable and train reporting numbers very well. My memories of Blisworth in the 1950s are in Part III at http://www.blisworth.org.uk/images/Rails.htm but could benefit from updating. This village history site contains a lot of information on Blisworth area railways including the SMJ and is well worth a look.

 

My late father-in-law moved from Silverstone to Wappenham in 1964 and when my two boys were young we’d often walk the path of the line between there and Helmdon with our, now deceased, dog.

 

I hope these modest anecdotes are of interest. Although I now live near Severn Tunnel Junction in South Wales I still visit the Northampton area occasionally and, among other things, am a member of the County Record Society.

 

John Whitehead

Caldicot, Monmouthshire

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