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LMS Route: Stratford Midland Junction - The Shakespeare Route

SMJ Miscellaneous: smjsa231

A motorised trolley used by the Permanent Way gang is being manhandled across the running lines at Byfield in 1958

A motorised trolley used by the Permanent Way gang is being manhandled across the running lines at Byfield in 1958. The hut on the right is where the trolley was stored between use. A similar arrangement was employed at Kineton as is evident from the post 1925 plan of Kineton. Nick Meredith wrote on the SMJ Society's website. 'I have recently been transcribing the 1949 Freight Working Time Table for the SM&JR route from copies taken of the volume in the National Archives into a spreadsheet, with the intent of merging this with the Passenger WTT for the same period so as to get a full picture of regular movements on the line in that period. (Rail 912/8 Freight WTT BR LMR Midland Division, May 23rd to September 25th inclusive 1949) Several of the time tabled movements refer to a motor trolley, running as follows:

Up Train 7 (a.m.)
Byfield dep. 8.5
Woodford West Junc dep. 8.10
Blakesley arr. 8.27
Blakesley dep. 8.29
Towcester arr. 8.39

Up train 9 Q:
Runs when required
Kineton dep. 8 20
Burton Dassett arr. 8.28
Burton Dassett dep.8.30
Fenny Compton arr. 8.40

Down Train 9
Q: Runs when required
Kineton dep. 8.53
Ettington 9.01
Clifford Sidings 9.12

Down Train 11
Q: Runs when required
Byfield 9.15
Byfield Ironstone Sidings arr. 9.30

Alwyn Sparrow also commented as follows, 'I have S&T Documents dated 24th February 1942 relating to proposed widening of the Stratford-on-Avon to Clifford Sidings section of line which show Kineton as home station of the 'Flying Gang', the term used for the Permanent Way gang. So at this period the trolley was based at Kineton. At what date the Motor economic system continued to I don't know but the Gangers Key Occupation instruments were still around at closure. The sections went from Kineton Station in each direction so two occupation instruments were provided. Also I seem to recollect that a hut was provided for the trolley at Kineton'.

Dick Bodily noted that 'during the war if not later there were still 'linesmen' daily walking sections. I recall regularly seeing the little motorised trolley passing Blakesley in the 50s. Often it had two or more PW men aboard. I got the impression that they were being taken to whereabouts they were working but could have been wrong. I never actually saw a loco hauled inspection train myself but other people did'. Barry Taylor also commented, 'I'm sure that earlier, and less substantial, trolleys could just be lifted on and off the line anywhere as required to allow trains to pass, but presumably these motorised versions would have been too heavy for that, so must have been parked up in sidings when the line needed to be cleared? I seem to recall reading somewhere that the LMS introduced these motorised trolleys onto the SMJ in the 1930s, so Dick's mention of hand propelled versions still being used in the 1950s is interesting - perhaps they were used on shorter distance jobs?'