‘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"
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
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.
I last saw Mr Whitmore in 1965 when at Northampton No 4, he was a goods guard. His knickname was the Councilor. Parish or County I do not know but he did live in Blisworth, but I am fairly certain he passed on during the last few years.
Also mentioned was was a signalman Bob Salmons. Well I remember a George Salmons from Towcester who was connected with the Engineers, possibly a P Way inspector.
Dead right I was. 1964-70. I remember you telling me some tales of the SMJ many years ago, on a teachers' course in MK I think it was. I retired a few years ago but still live in Long Street, the northern outpost of Hanslope. Good to hear from you
Don't know whether you've seen 'Steam days' August 2009 issue - there's three letters at the back relating to the articles on the SMJ earlier in the year. Mentions RAF leave specials from Cardington to Bridgnorth in the fifties running via Bedford, Olney, Towcester and Stratford. This interesting because I know for certain that these trains were running via Northampton by 1957 (you might have seen my article in 'B R illustrated' a few months ago), but i have never heard of them going via the SMJ - just shows that you never know!
There is also another letter about various loco types on the SMJ - I haven't got a copy to be able to quote from I just read them in W H Smith ! ), but it might add something to the list
Juts had a look - fascinating ! I dont know whether youve seen John's photos listed on the Transport Treasury website - lots of the SMJ at Stratford. This is proving to be an interesting exercise - you wonder just what will come out of the woodwork next. Further to your note about the Nov 1962 special with 2210 - I have searched through various railway mags and it doesnt get reported at all - let alone a photo which is unusual as most SMJ specials got good photo coverage. I suppose the clue is an comment that I read (I think on 6 Bells J) about not being able to photo the train at the Blakesley stop due to the poor light - by the time the train got onto the SMJ it would have been pretty dark ! Anyone know of a photo of this one ?
The DMU trip was on 14/5/60 - an SLS trip from Bham Snow Hill - Stratford SMJ - Fenny C - banbury - Woodford - Byfield - Towcester - Blisworth - Stratford - Broom - Evesham - Honeybourne - Stratford - Bham SH - I'd like to have been on that one !
As for your loco list I can add-
GER J69 0-6-0T 7194 and 7385 were noted on the Woodford to Byfield shuttle in 1936
MR 2P 4-4-0 40383 was seen at Moreton Pinkney in 1949 as a follow up to the derailment of a passenger train there
LMS 2P 4-4-0 40672 - same as 40383 above these were engineers inspection visits - and 40672 also ran around the SMJ system in July 1952 on similar duties.(It was 'Engineer Watford' then I think)
LMS/BR Ivatt 2-6-0 - depends which one you mean - I have one of the 43xxx series at Moreton Pinkney on a ballast train in 1949 (after the derailment) and also the class was around in the 1950-60's. The 465xx version worked the B Dassett trip on some occasions towards the end of steam.
Also on the B Dassett subject I have a note that 'Type 3 diesels' from Banbury were due to take over the job from steam, working from Banbury shed - but I dont know which diesel this was.
I also photographed a Class 40 on this job in August 1983 - it ran as far as the handover point for the MOD just past the road bridge at Fenny C in those days
I think that there were also a few other very obscure locos in the early days - I have a note of two ST's named 'Wellington' and 'Nelson' hired from Boulton's, but I'll have to search for the details
The EWJR did certainly have another Fairlie on trial / hire - an 0-4-4 tank which later turned up on the MSWJR, and I think that the French 0-6-0 that you mention was a tender loco not a ST - it was converted later in its life on the Cardiff Rly if I remember correctly
Great stuff !
Great idea on the specials - I thought of doing something like that a while back - but as usual other things got in the way! Unfortunately I dont have a ref as to the B16 number - the report just mentioned the loco type.
As for the railcar trip, my working Special Trains Notice only cover the local area ie: Blisworth to Hardingstone Junction . It could have joined the SMJ at several points - Fenny Compton or Stratford would both have involved shunts through exchange sidings. It could also have travelled via Banbury and Woodford, but this would have required reversal at Woodford and Woodford West J. I dont think that it could have got through from Banbury Merton St to Towcester at that date ?. I knew of the working before I found the Spec Trains Notice, and until then I had thought that it went from Towcester via Roade and Ravenstone.
Re - the 22xx workings - I agree that they could have arrived over any of those other routes although I think them less likely - the 1958 one does mention 'arrived at Blisworth via the SMJ line' in the report so that seems conclusive, and you did see another at Blakesley yourself. 'Local legend' at Northampton shed also supported the SMJ line route. Actually - just another thought - I wonder if one ever got along the Towcester - Ravenstone line in the same way as a replacement for a 3F or 4F on those freights?
Yes - I was a Northampton spotter in the late 50's and early 60's - our base was Duston West but we got out to all of the usual places you mention plus Hitchin and Rugby as well.
Thanks very much for the comments Dick. In fact I have never owned "Raymond", although I have known her since she was built in 1958. She belongs to a Trust called "Friends of Raymond" and will be on view at Stoke Bruerne this weekend as part of the Museum Gala Weekend. The last pair of boats that I ran (until 2001 when back problems caused me to retire) were "Clover" & "Fazeley" belonging to South Midland Water Transport Ltd, of which I was a Director. They have since been sold and restored most beautifully to the livery of Fellows, Morton & Clayton Ltd, who operated them before they were taken over by the British Transport Commission in 1948. They are also on view this weekend at Stoke.
OK - interesting to hear about the other Blakesley book too. I remember meeting Phil Kingston many years ago when we collected a copy of one of his earlier books on the village, and I also have his BHMR book.
hopefully more soon on the GC Atlantic photo - I'll keep you posted