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Clifford Sidings

LMS Route: The Shakespeare Route

Clifford Sidings derived its name from the nearby village of Clifford Chambers. The siding was located next to the Stratford upon Avon to Shipston-on-Stour road bridge which passed over the railway in parallel to the Stratford & Moreton Tramway bridge. Initially the facilities consisted of a single siding reached by facing points in the down direction and operated by a ground frame. The key to unlock and lock the ground frame was attached to the token for the section of the line between Stratford on Avon station and Ettington station. At sometime prior to the First World War, as seen on the 1913 Ordnance Survey map, the single siding was provided with a small head shunt thereby allowing shunting of the siding to proceed without fouling the running line. The installation of the small head shunt might have been connected with the issue of the siding becoming congested. The memorandum dated 3rd March 1905 for an invoice to be raised shows, in the response section, that delays were occuring due to the siding being blocked. In all likelihood, other than for the dropping off or collection of wagons, local shunting would have been undertaken by a horse. The sidings were once again modified when during the Second World War it handled traffic for Atherstone airfield.

The signal box opened when the line was doubled between Stratford on Avon station and Clifford Sidings on 27th September 1942. As a runway was adjacent to the railway, the RAF installed colour light signals that could be operated from the control tower in order to stop a train in an emergency. These lights were continuously lit and repeated in Clifford Sidings signal box. The RAF tested the signals daily at noon, and they proved useful when a Wellington with a full load of bombs and fuel crashed on the line. A platform was built near the airfield for use by RAF personnel, but was burnt down soon after the end of the Second World War. The signal box was equipped by the LMS with a twenty lever frame, of which 1, 3, 4, 11, 16 and 20 were not used. The signal box remained operational until 24th April 1965 when the RCTS Special headed by ex-LMS 4F No 44188 ran through to Fenny Compton. Other than demolition trains this was the last working to use the line. However the signal box is allegedly to have been manned beyond this date with a daily trip being arranged to take a churn of fresh water to the signal box as no running water was available on site. How long this state of affairs continued is open to debate but we do know that the line was severed on 22nd August 1966.

The Railway Clearing House's 1894 Handbook of Railway Stations shows the E&WJR provided no passenger or goods station facilities at Clifford Siding, this facility being more than amply served by Stratford upon Avon station. The Handbook only indicates the E&WJR supporting the transportation of Live Stock to and from the Siding. However, the siding would have been able to handle dedicated loads in instances where the merchant had no need to weigh the contents. There were no cranage facilities provided in the sidings either so merchants would either have had to man handle the loading/unloading of goods themselves or, if necessary, bring in a mobile crane. The 1928 edition of The Railway Clearing House's Handbook of Railway Stations records no facilities, including livestock, being offered by the railway so by this date all traffic using the sidings would have been dedicated loads either into or out of the Sidings.

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; 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. We would like to express our thanks to the members of the SMJ Society (www.smj.me) for use of their information and images, in particular the late John Jennings whose contribution can be seen on many of our SMJ pages.

Looking to Fenny Compton from the road bridge with the single line section starting at the end of the siding
Ref: smjc93
RK Cope
Looking to Fenny Compton from the road bridge with the single line section starting at the end of the siding
Looking from the embankment by the road bridge to the Stratford Morton Tramway
Ref: smjc96
Mowatt Collection
Looking from the embankment by the road bridge to the Stratford Morton Tramway
Looking to Fenny Compton prior to the doubling of the track in 1942 in the direction of Stratford on Avon
Ref: smjc98
LGRP
Looking to Fenny Compton prior to the doubling of the track in 1942 in the direction of Stratford on Avon
Close up showing the exchange of tokens between the 'bobby' of Clifford Sidings Signal Box and the engine crew
Ref: smjc229a
RC Riley
Close up of the exchange of tokens between the 'bobby' of Clifford Sidings Signal Box and the engine crew

Ref: smjc227
J Cosford
Clifford Sidings signalman has just exchanged the token with the crew of the ex-SR U Class 2-6-0 No 31639

A memo dated 3rd March 1905, from Stratford on Avon station to C Hobbs Esquire, asking for an invoice to be raised
Ref: smjc233
A Sparrow
A memo dated 3rd March 1905, from Stratford station to C Hobbs Esquire, asking for an invoice to be raised

Trains seen at or near Clifford Sidings

Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44061 exchanges the token with the signalman from Clifford Sidings Signal Box
Ref: smjc229
RC Riley
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44061 exchanges the token with the signalman from Clifford Sidings Signal Box

Ref: smjc222
TE Williams
Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43568 passes Clifton Signal Box with a down passenger service on 15th March 1952
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 passes Clifton Sidings on the RCTS' Farewell to the SMJ tour
Ref: smjc223
J Jennings
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 is seen passing Clifton Sidings on the RCTS' Farewell to the SMJ tour
An unidentified ex-GWR 2-6-2T locomotive propels an ex-GWR Autocoach towards Clifford Sidings
Ref: smjc234
Anon
An unidentified ex-GWR
2-6-2T locomotive propels Inspection Saloon No 80974 towards Clifford Sidings

Ref: smjc228
TE Williams
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 43971 and classmate No 44219 on a goods train of minerals wagons past Clifford's Sidings

An 1883 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Clifford Sidings as a single siding accessed by a ground frame
Ref: smjc226
National Library of Scotland
An 1883 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Clifford Sidings as a single siding accessed by a ground frame
A 1900 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Clifford Sidings as a single siding accessed by a ground frame
Ref: smjc224
National Library of Scotland
A 1900 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Clifford Sidings as a single siding accessed by a ground frame
A 1913 25 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map showing Clifford Sidings still as a single siding but with a small head shunt
Ref: smjc225
National Library of Scotland
A 1913 25 inch to the mile OS map showing Clifford Sidings still as a single siding but with a small head shunt
Location plan of Clifford Bridge Sidings after the doubling of the track in 1942
Ref: smjc97
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey diagram showing Clifford Sidings after the line was doubled to milepost 37¼ in 1942