Stratford and Midland Junction Railway (Warwickshire) Timeline - Railways of the Vale of Evesham

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Railways of the Vale of Evesham
Stratford and Midland Junction Railway in Warwickshire Timeline
May 1866
The first section of the Northampton and Banbury Junction Railway (N&BJR) opens between Blisworth (junction for the London and North Western Railway's branch to Northampton and Peterborough) and Towcester.   This is the first section of what will become the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway.

1864
The East & West Junction Railway (E&WJR) line between Towcester and Stratford-Upon-Avon is authorised.

June 1871
The section between Fenny Compton and Kineton is opened.

June 1872
The N&BJR's extension from Towcester to Cockley Brake Junction (joining the London and North Western Railway's route into Banbury) is opened for passengers, although freight has been worked on this section since the previous year.

July 1873
The E&WJR line to Stratford is opened, but having no station facilities of their own, the E&WJR is forced used the town's GWR station.  The E&WJR line east from Fenny Compton to Towcester is also opened at this time

June 1873
The Evesham, Redditch and Stratford-upon-Avon Junction Railway (ER&SJR) is authorised to run from Broom Junction to the E&WJR at Stratford.

January 1875
The financial situation of the E&WJR is such that a Receiver is appointed.

1876
The E&WJR station in Stratford opens.

June 1879
The ER&SJR opens.

1885
Proposals to build a 14 mile extension of the ER&SJR from Broom to Worcester are approved, but the line is never constructed.

January 1886
The ER&SJR goes into receivership.

April 1891
The Stratford-Upon-Avon, Towcester and Midland Junction Railway (ST&MJR) opens.  This is an eastwards extension from Towcester to the Midland Railway's Northampton to Bedford line at Ravenstone Wood Junction.  

May 1898
The ST&MJR goes into receivership.  

March 1899
Links from the E&WJR to the newly-constructed Great Central Railway at Woodford Halse are opened.   This would provide through freight workings from the northeast of England to South Wales using E&WJR, the ER&SJR and the Midland line from Broom Junction to Ashchurch.

1901
The E&WJR, ER&SJR and ST&MJR are put up for sale in the hope that one of the larger railway companies linked to the lines will purchase them.   However, there are no takers.

January 1909
The E&WJR, ER&SJR and ST&MJR amalgamate to form the Stratford-Upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway (SMJ).  A package of re-financing is put into place

July 1910
The N&BJR is absorbed into the SMJ.

1911
By this point the SMJ is promoting itself as the "Shakespeare Route" in an attempt to gain tourist traffic to Stratford-upon-Avon.

September 1915
Construction of a replacement farm access road bridge over Goldicote Cutting causes a serious issue when the original bridge collapses, possibly due to the storage of girders for the new bridge being stored on the old one, causing damage to already weakened structure.  The line is re-opened within a matter of days, and construction of the new bridge is completed in December of that year.

1923
The SMJ becomes part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).

1942
A south curve is installed at Broom Junction to aid wartime traffic.

June 1947
Having enjoyed success during both World Wars, the decline of the network begins with the withdrawal of passenger services between Broom and  Stratford.

April 1952
Passenger services from Stratford to Blisworth are withdrawn.

1960
A link between the SMJ and the Stratford-Cheltenham line is built. Now surplus to requirements, the section between Stratford and Broom is closed completely.

March 1965
The last remaining sections of the network still open for freight are closed, other than the section from Burton Dassett to Fenny Compton for use by the Ministry of Defence.

April 1965
The Stephenson Locomotive Society "SMJ Last Train" tour runs along the now-closed SMJ from Stratford to Woodfood Halse.   The locomotive on this section is ex-LMS Class 4F no. 44188.
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