·  LMS  ·  GWR  ·  LNER  ·  Misc  ·  Stations  ·  What's New  ·  Video  ·  Guestbook  ·  About

LMS Route: Stratford Midland Junction - The Shakespeare Route

E&WJR and SMJ - Locomotives and Rolling Stock: smjsa312

Welcombe Hotel guests and their luggage are about to board the Ro-Railer for Blisworth via Stratford

Welcombe Hotel guests and their luggage are about to board the Ro-Railer for Blisworth via Stratford. Dick Riley and Bill Simpson write in their book, a 'History of the Stratford upon Avon Midland Junction Railway', ''it must have been a fascinating and unique experience to board a bus at the Hotel, ride onto a country railway and not disembark until Blisworth'. They noted too that the opening of the Welcombe Hotel by the LMS offered new opportunities too. Consequently express connections were given to and from Stratford in the evenings. A fast train left Stratford at 4.30 pm and ran 38½ miles to Blisworth in 62 minutes, stopping only at Towcester but had to reduce speed at intermediate stations to exchange the staff. In the return direction a 4.35 Birmingham two hour train from Euston called at Blisworth to make connection with the return working to Stratford leaving Blisworth at 6 pm for an arrival at Stratford of 7.10 pm, again calling only at Towcester. The new Ro-Railer seemed a natural option to run this service and so it began with the following timetable:

Welcombe Hotel dep 4.10 pm
Stratford LMS station arr 4.20 pm
Stratford LMS station dep 4.30 pm
Blisworth Station arr 5.32
Connection for London Euston 7.10

Blisworth dep 6.00 pm
Stratford arr 7.10 pm
Stratford dep 7.15 pm
Welcombe Hotel arr 7.25 pm

In all probability it stopped at all stations if required. The road fare was sixpence (2½p) for any distance. Normal rail charges applied once it was on the railway. The high point of the experiment had however been reached for what had proved exemplary on test and demonstration was another matter in the rigours of normal traffic schedules. The vehicle failed several times en route and had some difficulties on gradients. To be fair this may also have been driver problems with the very unorthodox gear changing. It did not attract the passenger usage that had been hoped for it, for we need to remember that the LMS were very much in competition with the GWR for developing tourist traffic at Stratford.