‘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

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 yesterday.

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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At 20:44 on November 25, 2009, Rob Gullen said…
That was quick! No I don't - I live in the "modern" development built in 1990/92. There is a bloke that lives in Old Town Mews that has a massive collection of railway tickets, timetables and Bradshaws guides - I don't think he has a layout.
I have to confess my interest in the railway is a bit of a passing one - I have some old magazines and stuff about the site and my interest relates to my house and where it is - the question about the railway underpass and the canning factory relates to trying to create safe and useful cycling routes around the town - IF the tunnel exists and was usable it would make an excellent link from Birmingham Road to the parts of the town near the racecourse.

At 11:30 on September 21, 2009, Jane Harries said…
Ah - I thought you meant the website!
I will see who the owner is - most is farmed, then there's the bungalow the bit of platform is in, but I think they won't know as much.
At 10:28 on September 21, 2009, Jane Harries said…
I thought you did! Not sure what you mean by the 'old site'.

At 10:01 on August 25, 2009, Dick Bodily said…

Have updated the rail tours thanks to Barry T and Rex Partridge (by mail), have a look and see if you can spot any errors. Will later be updating the SMJR classes list as Rex has details of diesels that have been to Kineton, plus stock that was stored there ( some amazing stuff coming but will probably wait until his SMJR article appears in a magazine shortly as that would only be fair to him)

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At 18:22 on August 13, 2009, Peter Fleming said…
Hi Andy

I thought that the majority were dated. A couple are only vague as to month or even season.

I have some scanned in colour slides that are over 10MB. Any idea if these san be used?
At 13:15 on August 7, 2009, John Spencer said…
Hi Andy
Thanks for your welcome. My fascination with the SMJ must have started when I saw the single lines around Towcester and Ravenstone Wood Jn on my early 1950s 1" OS Maps. I photographed the remains at Byfield, Blakesley, Moreton Pinkney, and Towcester in the early 1960s and once had a reconoitre around the site of Stratford station. In summer 1964 I visited Towcester station with an old school friend and I think it was in the October of that year, or it could have been 1963 when I photographed a special train at Aston le Walls. This special had been hauled by preserved T9 120 to Woodford Halse where there was a loco change and a reversal. I think it was then hauled by 2 ex GWR locos double headed. For more detailed memories I'd have to consult my notebooks stored in the loft.
At 9:40 on July 13, 2009, Gary said…
Yeah a fairly recent one of me - thought it'd make a change from the orangy ones!
At 15:07 on June 11, 2009, Rory Francis Mahon said…
Hi Andy its Rory.Many thanks for your message which I recieved from you today.I know that the SMJ was LMS.I know that it lost its passenger services concerning Stratford Upon Avon between 1947 and 1952.I also know that a lot of Iron Ore was quarried in Northamptonshire and then transferred to various locations on the Midland and Western regions of Britains Railways.
At 22:47 on May 16, 2009, brian dunn said…
Hi Andy,
Thanks for your message!,look forward to seeing the osccar award winner delete popcorn insert scrumpy! where do you find the time to do all these things???

Congratulations on being a father of four (inc twins!) I have one son and two daughters they all live in Australia,my son has seven children he reckons 7 is a lucky number I told him he should have done the same as me and stuck to the scrumpy woodbines and ditty singing!,my daughters have no kids as yet they reckon Bro has Dunn enough to maintain the Dunn dynasty!!
Poetry,my eldest granddaughter is mad on poetry I will tell her about your website,she is a Samuel Taylor Coleridge fan and is planning to come to Ottery to see his birthplace,the tar barrels and Honiton hot pennies.
Radio ham,I once worked with a signalman who was a licenced radio ham and member of the BR staff amateur radio club,he introduced me to short wave listening,I bought a second hand Eddystone 840 c receiver(oh...RX) and used to collect the QSL cards from broadcast stations around the globe it was great fun.I taught myself to slowly send and receieve morse and listened to you boys on SSB.
The topic of railway morse is much neglected by Railway Historians and heritage lines alike,and only occasionaly dealt with by the Signalling Record Society.Many old time signalmen missed the rythm of the morse when phones were introduced. Queensland Railways were still using morse during the time I worked for QR,the operators being classed as sixth class operating clerks minimum qualifications 40 wpm!! Ispent many happy hours with them listening to them work(and drinking beer with them afterwards!)
I have 2 pen pals in USA who are both retired operators(signalmen). Norman from Ohio,a very genuine guy very much your mid west conservative type and quite strait laced ,and Bill from New Jersey who is just the opposite to Norman(ha ha). Bill is an anglophile and spent some time in UK working for Railway Magazine as a journalist/photographer.
Both men have taught me how to be a US operator up to the stage where Ican walk into any US tower(signal box)and work it. Bill said(censored) that if he knew me years ago he would have fixed me up with an operators daughter in Chicago who was looking for a limey husband and said he..you could have lived happily ever after working your armstrong machine(mechanical frame) sending and receiving american morse and chatting with all in sundry on the railroad radio she added Bill, finally found her limey signalman hubby who joined the ranks of limey and yank operators in the many towers in Chicago and their famous beer drinking and Irish rebel song sessions in the pub,for which they held the national railroad championship(ha ha) and you ,added Bill,with your renowned repetiore of Irish rebel songs(I made a tape for him) would have ensured the cup stayed in Chicago and not gone to poor paddy works on the railway(Irish song)boys on NJ transit New York (ha ha)
Sadly I think Bill may have died,he was 80 and in poor health,due to his overzealous consumption of woodbines and bloody marys,his wife died some years back and he was never the same. Ihave been unable to contact him by phone letter or email so conclude he has gone to the great tower above.However I have a great collection of photos he sent with his many 30 plus page letters he sent and I will donate the photos to the Signalling Record Society they are rare US signalling gems!!!!!.
History,I am a friendly society and co-op amateur historian and have assisted authors on these topics and am currently writing a series of short articles on the history of the co_op building society for the newsletter of the Building Societies Members Assocation. I will be pleased to assist the local railway history boys in any way I can,but one must point out that railfans and rail workers are two different breeds and I am a rail worker, I very much appreciate the work of the volunteers on the heritage lines etc however in most cases they are a very different bunch than us railway blokes who did it for a living and wherein brotherhood was the primary cause and not railways!!
Cheers for now and look forward to hearing from you,
At 11:19 on May 15, 2009, brian dunn said…
Hi Andy,Pleased to hear you have Dunnit re Sidmouth Branch!,however Dunn has not Dunnit, I typed the details you gave but only got no matching documents,tried several times but no joy. Signal boxes come naturally to me but not computers which are all new to me and Iam on a learning curve and learning by my many mistakes!. Perhaps you could give me a few tips on how to view said video thank you.

On SMJ website Ikeep getting this snap shots thing but try as I might it will not go away and is spoiling my enjoyment(although the pic of Blisworth ironstone was brilliant and brought many happy memories) perhaps you could tell me how I can get rid of this snap shots itemas I had to try and work out a way of sending you this email and it took me some time to figure it out, so fingers crossed!

Unlike myself you seem to be quite a technocrat! and fair play to you,Iguess Signal boxes were the computers of their day and I confess to be stuck in that timewarp and find modern technology somewhat baffling! I hope the signal box diagrams were useful and I have plenty more of Exeter to Salisbury and Branches if you need any copies in the future.

You are indeed a man of many talents ie poetry! The poems I mentioned are from the memory of Lenny Haynes, they were written by a Blisworth Signalman who took the mickey out of blokes involved in amusing incidents locally on BR Lenny is the last surviving SMJ signalman as far as I am aware and he is nudging 80! I will be visiting him in August and suggest you might like to come along he like myself is a typical signalman,very laid back(ha ha)

Are you still coming in June? Itwould be good to meet you personally and have a chat and a few jars!!,maybe you can recite some poetry and if I have enough scrumpy under my belt it is not unknown for me to launch out singing west country folk songs that we all knew in my youth....oh how Devon has changed!!!

Cheers for now and all the best

At 19:20 on May 9, 2009, Michael Forsyth said…
Hello Andy, thank you for the welcome. I have had a lifelong interest in the SMJ; Started by my Grandfather (John McLeash) in the mid 60's, taking me to Blakesley, where he had lived as a boy and walking along the track, when it was still down, and explored the station building, before it was demolished (Criminal!) we used to go there as well for family pic-nics, and on one ocaission I found the old greenhouses from Blakesley HallI, still standing then, but very delapidated, which backed on to the line. I have frequently visited your excellent website and joined to register my support.
At 6:53 on May 4, 2009, Paul Dyer said…
Hi Andy,

Thanks, great website! My domestic situation is chaos. I live (from a family perspective) in Devizes in Wiltshire, but have taken a job in Alderton just south of Towcester. When I'm not visiting my sales territory 2-3 weeks every two months (which is the Far East), I am living in Tiffield during the week.

As a keen railway enthusiast I have started to explore the local area which started with a drive round Blisworth last week. I've been to Tesco's many times to stock up on goodies without realising the true significance of the site. No "Station Road" signs which are normally the big giveaway! Now that I've found your site and started to look at the area from the Google satellite view, I have discovered (rather sadly) just what used to be there.

I'm off to Asia today for 3 weeks - not taking the full kit this time, just my pocket Nikon S700 in case I should chance upon any raiway lines! When I get back I plan to start mapping the Towcester area with my trusty camera. Seems there's a lot to phot, apart from the freight rumbling by on the WCML!

You can catch some of my former shots on the Railway Herald website here:

Regards, Paul
At 21:02 on May 3, 2009, brian dunn said…
Will post the stuff to you on tuesday first class.Daytime is a bit rushed as I am the local lollipop man at the primary school and only around from c10.00 to c 14.00 or so. Evenings are fine anytime,would it perhaps be possible for you to come up the previous evening?,we would then have plenty of time to have a good natter. If you are driving,I live in the city centre where daytime parking is practically impossible/veritable nightmare to put it mildly!!! If you are coming by train/coach no problem,however parking is easy from 18.00 to 07.00 and free in my street after 18.00 for the quick and the dead.If you arrive after c 21.30 you can park in our church car park free until 08.00 when our paying regulars arrive,so if you are driving the city centre is a no go area during the day. there is a council car park next door to me free after 22.00 to c06.00 by which time it is usually full anyway!! The same applies to the out of town park and ride schemes!

This nightmare makes me happy I dont have a car and make good use of my senior citizens free travel pass nationally on all busses and in west midlands on trains and on the metro.

I leave it up to you!

At 9:53 on April 24, 2009, Gary said…
Shouldn't be a problem. I will certainly give it a go.
I'll e-mail my address to you.
At 14:12 on April 23, 2009, Duncan Chandler said…
Hi Andy,

You have already got some of mine which are on the site, I would hope to get some more scanning done over the next few months (they are mainly Stratford and Towcester, although a couple are at Woodford, Byfield and one at Kineton.

Will let you know

Kind regards
At 22:03 on April 14, 2009, Ian Taylor said…
Thanks Andy. Yes it is the bridge over the A5. When we moved here in 1996, well before Tescos was ever on the drawing board, there was no sign or remains of the bridge. When I looked at the site, its quite a wide piece of road, and a bridge would need to be quite high for buses to pass, so I'm really quite curious about whether it might have been a interesting structure rather than the normal iron trough!!
At 12:11 on April 12, 2009, Gary said…
Hi Andy,
Looking good so far - I've yet to have a full look around the site. I understand that it has combined both the other site? If so then I think it is definately a good idea and will become the SMJR resource. As good as the two independant sites were I hink it diluted both products.
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