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LMS Route: The Shakespeare Route

Fenny Compton Station

Fenny Compton Station [SMJ] (46) Fenny Compton Station [GWR] (38)

The first railway company to service the area was the Great Western Railway (GWR) in the guise of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway (OWWR) which opened its station on 1st October 1852. The second railway company was the East and West Junction Railway (E&WJR) which was to build a thirty-three mile line from the Northampton and Banbury Junction Railway at Green's Norton Junction, a short distance west of Towcester, and then to continue from there, crossing the Great Western Railway just south of Fenny Compton (where it too was to build a station) in order to join another GWR line at Stratford upon Avon. This route would, it was planned, give the E&WJR access both to Birmingham via Leamington and to the south-west via Honeybourne; the authorised line included running powers over the Northampton and Banbury Junction Railway between Towcester and Blisworth. Whilst the E&WJR had initially intended goods traffic from the Northampton area to be handed over to the GWR at Stratford upon Avon the GWR refused to cooperate insisting that goods traffic be exchanged at Fenny Compton. This meant that for many years Fenny Compton had an importance that did not reflect its rural location and it wasn't until the extension to Broom was built in the guise of the Evesham, Redditch and Stratford-upon-Avon Junction Railway that this importance declined. The opening of this extension allowed the E&WJR to pass its traffic on to the Midland Railway at Broom Junction thereby cutting out the GWR. The Midland Railway did initially use the line routing its Bristol and Gloucester to London traffic over the SMJ (its Banana trains were of particular note) until 1912 when it re-routed it's traffic via Wigston Junction an action saving them but costing the SMJ some £1,100 per annum.

The East & West Junction Railway was for much of its life in a state of acute financial embarrassment, and with little money to spare, its relations with the inspecting officers of the Board of Trade were none too happy. It was a tradition which went back to the days prior to the line even being open! The first section of the E&WJR to be submitted for inspection was between Fenny Compton (adjacent to the GWR's Oxford to Birmingham main line) and Kineton. Colonel Hutchinson was deputed to inspect the line, and he balked at the deficient ballasting, missing fish bolts, poor fencing, incomplete interlocking, inadequate station facilities and no station nameboards or clocks. On his second visit, he passed the line, subject to an undertaking from the company concerning Fenny Compton, where the E&WJR hoped to use GWR facilities until a joint station was built. The section of the line between Fenny Compton and Kineton opened on 1st June 1871.

The E&WJR station Fenny Compton West was built alongside and to the west of the GWR's Fenny Compton station. There were two facing platforms, one being served by the down passing loop with the main station building located on it and the other, being served by the up passing loop which was nearest to the GWR station. This placed the E&WJR's up platform directly next to the GWR's down platform, and because the GWR's goods yard was in between the two (until at a later date the GWR platform was moved to the otherside of the level crossing), the E&WJR up platform tapered significantly. In 1873 Colonel Yollaud on behalf of the Board of Trade inspected the line extensions from Kineton to Stratford upon Avon, and from Fenny Compton to Towcester. Colonel Yollaud soon noticed that the up platform at Fenny Compton narrowed to no more than 2 foot 11 inches at one place, instead of the requisite 6 foot. The Colonel issued orders that, unless the GWR would agree to move their fence, the platform was to be shortened. As it was only 100 yards long in the first place, this was not very convenient, and as late as 1952 when the station was closed, the platform was still less than the conventional width.

The goods yard initially consisted of one siding used primarily by coal merchants, Whilst there is no indication of a public weighbridge and office there may well have been in order to support the merchants based at the station. Certainly by the 1930s there is evidence that a weighbridge and office was in existence as was a second siding. The Railway Clearing House's 1929 Handbook of Railway Stations states Fenny Compton provided the general public and businesses with the following services. These are recorded as: Goods traffic; Passenger and Parcels traffic; Live Stock and Horse Boxes and Prize Cattle Vans (GPLH). There were no cranage facilities provided in the goods yard so merchants would either have to man handle the loading/unloading of goods themselves or, if necessary, bring in a mobile crane. The 1894 edition of The Railway Clearing House's Handbook of Railway Stations did not provide information to the same detail e.g. the number of categories listed, and only recorded (GPL), however its reasonable to assume that the same facilities recorded in 1929 were offered from the outset.

On 1st June 1871 the first section of the line, from Fenny Compton to Kineton, a distance of six miles, was opened and a passenger service commenced. The line was built as a single line with passing loops at certain stations along the route. The lack of motive power meant the E&WJR hired their contractor's engine for the purpose and later bought it, at which stage the locomotive became E&WJR No 1. There was a siding connection opened between the two stations and a loading bank for coal in the E&WJR goods yard. The GWR had only a single siding for goods traffic in between their down platform and the E&WJR's up platform. The GWR later rebuilt their goods siding by added another siding and Goods Shed in 1902 and in order to facilitate this they moved the down platform northwards towards Birmingham and located it immediately on the otherside of the level crossing. The E&WJR signal box was sited on the down platform adjacent to the main buildings and remained in place until 1931, when as part of the LMS' and GWR's economy measures, a joint LMS/GWR cabin was installed which signalled both routes with a lever frame for each railway located on the relevant side of the signal box. This was in turn replaced by a British Railways (Western Region) signal box in March 1960. When passenger services over the former E&WJR ceased in 1952 the old up platform was swept away, and a series of running connections laid in between the SMJ and WR lines. These were intended to facilitate through goods traffic, but a change of plans resulted in the line being closed as a through route in 1965. The only section which carries traffic beyond this date is from Fenny Compton to an army camp at Burton Dassett.

Messrs Preston Hendry & Powell Hendry noted in their section of their book on the station 'The Board of Trade's dislike of facing points is well known, and is illustrated by this comment from the inspecting officer's report: 'I have also recommended that the siding at Blakesley Station off the Down line should cross that line and join the Up instead of the Down line, and thus avoid an unnecessary pair of facing points'. At Fenny Compton, this fetish was honoured in the case of the Down yard siding, which was laid in to the Up line, but the E&WJR/GWR exchange siding was reached off a facing connection at the end of the Up platform, instead of a trailing point off the Down line! This made nonsense of the whole exercise, but was passed without comment! (see scale plan ‘A’). The SMJ had strengthened the bridge carrying the railway over the GWR main line in 1909. Another significant change came in 1960 when British Railways Western Region decided to put in a direct connecting line for the ironstone trains over the former S&MJR. This enabled them to avoid Leamington and Bearley and the climb up Hatton Bank on their journey to Wales via Gloucester. To control the junction a new signalbox was opened on 7th March 1960.'

Much of the information provided on this and other linked pages has been derived from books written by: Arthur Jordon The Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway published by OPC; JM Dunn's The Stratford upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway published by The Oakwood Press; Messrs Preston Hendry & Powell Hendry in An Historical Survey of Selected LMS Stations Volume One published by OPC; RC Riley and Bill Simpson in their book A History of the Stratford-Upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway published by Lamplight Publications; David Blasgrove in his book 'Warwickshire's Lost Railways' published by Stenlake Publishing which has a brief illustrated overview of some of the stations; and finally Geoffrey Kingscott's Lost Railways of Warwickshire published by Countryside Books which has a section dedicated to the SMJR with 'Now and Then' photographs.

A late 19th century view of Fenny Compton station as one of the Beyer Peacock 0-6-0s stands 'wrong road' adjacent to the platform
Ref: smjfc180
Lens of Sutton
A 19th century view of the station as one of the Beyer Peacock 0-6-0s stands 'wrong road' in the platform
A signalman at Fenny Compton's original signal box, supplied by the Railway Signal Company, poses for the camera
Ref: smjfc177
J Alsop
A signalman poses for the camera at Fenny Compton's original signal box, supplied by the Railway Signal Co
Looking towards the Great Western Railway's line with the former SMJ line beyond on 4th September 1931
Ref: smjfc174
Postcard
Looking towards the Great Western Railway's line with the former SMJ line beyond on 4th September 1931
Looking towards Byfield and the points for the exchange sidings with the GWR cattle dock on the left
Ref: smjfc16
HC Casserley
Looking towards Byfield and the points for the exchange sidings with the GWR cattle dock on the left
Looking across from the SMJ station's down platform towards the passenger waiting room on the up platform
Ref: smjfc17
HC Casserley
Looking across from the SMJ station's down platform towards the passenger waiting room on the up platform

Close up showing the former SMJ structure on the up platform which incorporated a store and a waiting room
Ref: smjfc17a
HC Casserley
Close up showing the former SMJ structure on the up platform which incorporated a store and a waiting room
Looking towards Stratford upon Avon with the main station building being located on the down platform
Ref: smjfc18
Lens of Sutton
Looking towards Stratford upon Avon with the main station building being located on the down platform
Close up showing the former SMJ's Fenny Compton station's main building shortly before its closure
Ref: smjfc18a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the former SMJ's Fenny Compton station's main building shortly before its closure
Another view of the station looking towards Stratford upon Avon shortly before the end of passenger services
Ref: smjfc19
HC Casserley
Another view of the station looking towards Stratford upon Avon shortly before the end of passenger services
Close up showing Fenny Compton station's run down passenger facilities on the down platform
Ref: smjfc19a
HC Casserley
Close up showing Fenny Compton station's run down passenger facilities on the down platform

Close up showing the level crossing at the Stratford on Avon end of the station and the joint signal box
Ref: smjfc19b
HC Casserley
Close up showing the level crossing at the Stratford on Avon end of the station and the joint signal box
Looking west towards Stratford upon Avon in the penultimate month prior to its closure on 7th April 1952
Ref: smjfc182
R Casserley
Looking across the SMJ level crossing towards the joint Fenny Compton Signal Box in March 1952
View of the two stations with the E&WJR line to Stratford upon Avon on the left and the GWR line Leamington on the right
Ref: smjfc179
RC Riley
The two stations with the E&WJR line to Stratford upon Avon on the left and the GWR line Leamington on the right
Close up of the ex-E&WJR station which had been closed for several years by the time this photograph was taken
Ref: smjfc179a
RC Riley
Close up of the ex-E&WJR station which had been closed for several years by the time this photograph was taken
Close up showing the GWR Fenny Compton station's up platform and passenger waiting room and porters office
Ref: smjfc179b
RC Riley
Close up showing the GWR Fenny Compton station's up platform and waiting room and porters office

Looking west towards Stratford upon Avon in the penultimate month prior to its closure on 7th April 1952
Ref: smjfc182
R Casserley
Looking west towards Stratford upon Avon in the penultimate month prior to its closure on 7th April 1952
A panoramic view of Fenny Compton station looking West showing the juxtaposition between the two stations
Ref: smjfc20
HC Casserley
A panoramic view of Fenny Compton station looking West showing the juxtaposition between the two stations
Close up showing the East side of Fenny Compton station's main building and the basic goods yard
Ref: smjfc20a
HC Casserley
Close up showing the East side of Fenny Compton station's main building and the basic goods yard
Close up showing the joint signal box framed by the loading gauge sited at the entrance to the goods yard
Ref: smjfc20b
HC Casserley
Close up showing the joint signal box framed by the loading gauge sited at the entrance to the goods yard
Close up showing the Eastern end of the SMJ station's up platform and the GWR station's up platform
Ref: smjfc20c
HC Casserley
Close up showing the Eastern end of the SMJ station's up platform and the GWR station's up platform

Looking West towards Stratford on Avon on the SMJ route and Leamington Spa on the GWR route
Ref: smjfc22
Anon
Looking West towards Stratford on Avon on the SMJ route and Leamington Spa on the GWR route
A pair of ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0s Nos 44491 and 44524 pass each other at Fenny Compton station
Ref: smjfc141
Anon
View of Fenny Compton station's joint LMS-GWR signal box with the up waiting room on the right
Close up showing another view of Fenny Compton's joint signal box with windows to all sides
Ref: smjfc181a
RC Riley
Close up showing another view of Fenny Compton's joint GWR/LMS signal box with windows to all sides
Close up of the joint signal box and Fenny Compton SMJ station's up platform waiting room and store
Ref: smjfc15a
HC Casserley
Close up of the joint signal box and Fenny Compton SMJ station's up platform waiting room and store
An internal view of Fenny Compton's joint GWR/LMS Signal Box showing the two staff machines for the blocks eitherside of the signal box
Ref: smjfc183
Anon
An internal view of Fenny Compton's joint GWR/LMS Signal Box showing the two staff machines

Close up showing part of Fenny Compton station's goods yard comprising two sidings
Ref: smjfc94a
PQ Treloar
Close up showing part of Fenny Compton station's goods yard comprising two sidings
Looking along the former down platform towards Kineton on the left, the up platform now removed, on 23rd June 1966
Ref: smjfc185
J Evans
Looking along the former down platform towards Kineton on the left, the up platform now removed
View of the revised track layout enabling traffic from the former GWR line to join the former SMJ route
Ref: smjfc95
Anon
View of the revised track layout enabling traffic from the former GWR line to join the former SMJ route
Close up showing both the SMJ and GWR stations and the revised track layout adopted in 1961
Ref: smjfc95a
Anon
Close up showing both the SMJ and GWR stations and the revised track layout adopted in 1961
Looking West towards Stratford on Avon on the SMJ route and Leamington Spa on the GWR route
Ref: smjfc175
RC Riley
A photograph of an Stratford Midland Junction 'Beware of the Trains' cast-iron warning sign

Trains seen at or near Fenny Compton Station

A pair of ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0s Nos 44491 and 44524 are seen passing each other at Fenny Compton station
Ref: smjfc94
PQ Treloar
A pair of ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0s Nos 44491 and 44524 are seen passing each other at Fenny Compton station
Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43381 arrives at the down platform with a service from Towcester to Stratford upon Avon
Ref: smjfc21
Anon
Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43381 arrives at the down platform with a service from Towcester to Stratford upon Avon
Looking towards Towester with the joint LMS and GWR signal box located on the SMJ up platform on the left
Ref: smjfc15
HC Casserley
Looking towards Towester with the joint LMS and GWR signal box located on the SMJ up platform on the left
Close up showing ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43568 whilst to the left is an unidentified GWR locomotive
Ref: smjfc15b
HC Casserley
Close up showing ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43568 whilst to the left is an unidentified GWR locomotive
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 No 6368 pilots ex-GWR 0-6-0 No 2246 on the LCGB Thames, Avon and Severn Rail Tour
Ref: smjfc140
J Cosford
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 No 6368 pilots ex-GWR 0-6-0 No 2246 on the LCGB Thames, Avon and Severn Rail Tour

Another view of ex-GWR 2-6-0 No 6368 and ex-GWR 0-6-0 No 2246 on the LCGB Rail Tour at Fenny Compton
Ref: smjfc139
J Cosford
Another view of ex-GWR 2-6-0 No 6368 and ex-GWR 0-6-0 No 2246 on the LCGB Rail Tour at Fenny Compton
Ex-GWR 4-4-0 'Dukedog' class No 9015 is seen at the head of the South Midlander Rail Tour on 24th April 1955
Ref: smjfc142
A Vaughan
Ex-GWR 4-4-0 'Dukedog' class No 9015 is seen at the head of the South Midlander Rail Tour on 24th April 1955
A pair of ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0s Nos 44491 and 44524 pass each other at Fenny Compton station
Ref: smjfc143
EE Smith
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44606 is seen approaching Fenny Compton at the head of a freight service from Byfield
An ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44035 pauses at Fenny Compton and is cleared to move on to Stratford at the SMJ signal
Ref: smjfc181
RC Riley
An ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44035 pauses at Fenny Compton and is cleared to move on to Stratford at the SMJ signal
BR 9F 2-10-0 No 92247 passes through the now demolished ex-SMJ Fenny Compton station with an eastbound freight
Ref: smjfc173
J Cosford
BR 9F 2-10-0 No 92247 passes through the now demolished ex-SMJ Fenny Compton station with an eastbound freight

Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 3830 is seen leaving the former Fenny Compton up platform with a goods service in 1964
Ref: smjfc232
TE Williams
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 3830 is seen leaving the former Fenny Compton up platform with a goods service

Schematic Drawings and Ordnance Survey Map

A schematic drawing of the layout and juxtaposition of Fenny Compton's E&WJR and GWR stations in the 1930s
Ref: smjfc144
Preston Hendry
A schematic drawing of the layout and juxtaposition of Fenny Compton's E&WJR and GWR stations in the 1930s
Close up of the schematic diagram showing descriptions of the different SMJ and GWR station structures
Ref: smjfc144a
Preston Hendry
Close up of the schematic diagram showing descriptions of the different SMJ and GWR station structures
A 1904 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Fenny Compton's GWR and E&WJR stations
Ref: smjfc145
National Library of Scotland
A 1904 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Fenny Compton's GWR and E&WJR stations
The 1956 Signal Diagram for Fenny Compton's joint LMS and GWR Signal Box with both stations in place
Ref: smjfc186
R Powell Hendry
The 1956 Signal Diagram for Fenny Compton's joint LMS and GWR Signal Box with both stations in place
The Signal Diagram of Fenny Compton's British Railways Western Region Signal Box opened on 28th February 1960
Ref: smjfc187
R Powell Hendry
The Signal Diagram of the British Railways Western Region Signal Box opened on 28th February 1960

A schematic drawing of the layout of the junction at Fenny Compton between the GWR and SMJ post 1961
Ref: smjfc178
Anon
A schematic drawing of the layout of the junction at Fenny Compton between the GWR and SMJ post 1961

Fenny Compton Station [SMJ] (46) Fenny Compton Station [GWR] (38)