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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 24 - Summer 1975
Easter Report 1975, Part 2 - The Car Park is Flooded - by Gordon Rodwell
During the last few years we have been very fortunate with the lack of heavy rain at Quainton before or during our Open Days, but due to the prolonged wet spell this Spring it was plain many weeks before Easter that the chances of using the Car Park field were small.
The plan was to use a system of unilateral parking on the roads on both sides of the bridge because I thought the roads in the Up Yard were too narrow to accommodate a two way traffic as well as cars owned by working members. The Saturday weather was quite dry but cold and a steady trickle of cars arrived from 'opening time' in the morning. During the afternoon Chris Taylor decided to make a new opening from the Up yard to the exit road by bending over a couple of iron posts of the fence giving access to the old yard road and we at once had a workable 'one way' system. That evening he worked at removing the iron posts and shovelled a mass of stones and ballast on to the exit to make it firm for use the next day. This brilliant idea increased our parking capacity by about 150 cars and undoubtedly saved us from having to turn away at least double that number each day.
Sunday was dull and even colder and during the afternoon there was a biting North wind and frequent snow and sleet showers. I started the day taking the entrance money and controlling the parking on the Waddesdon side. A young member, Jeffrey Nichols, soon turned up and I pressed him into taking the cash while I directed the cars. When he was relieved from the entrance he took over from me so that I could go over to the Up yard. Apart from a break for lunch he stayed directing the cars for the rest of the day, and when we had a visit from a Police Inspector, he managed to satisfy him that he (Jeffrey) knew what he was doing and that all was well. Thank you, Jeffrey. The Up yard just managed to take those cars which could not park over the bridge.
Monday started off bright and sunny with a little snow on the ground. I went into Aylesbury to put up notices saying " FLOODS - go by train", and Radio London and Radio Oxford had been asked to pass on the same message. I was supposed to be Platform Inspector for the day, but it was not be be! All went well until about 11 am when it became obvious that the cars were arriving at a much faster rate we had bargained for! At midday Jeffrey arrived on his bike with a message that the Up yard was nearly full and asked if I would open up the field. I told him that every effort must be made to accommodate cars somewhere and somehow until 2 pm. If we had opened the field park before that time cars would want to leave during the 3 pm peak period, and as we had no separate Exit this would soon jam up the entrance. Jeffrey 's assistance as a voluntary messenger with a bike was invaluable, and in the afternoon saved a crisis situation.
By 2 pm there were about 50 cars on the sides of every road from the crossroads, and the Up yard was full. Anthea had organised the removal of the fence under the bridge, and some staff for the ticket hut; so we started to send the cars into the field. It is slightly downhill towards the bridge, and all but one got to the recommended parking lots. All seemed to be well until about 3.30 p.m. when cars trying to get out blocked the entrance! The field now held about 300 cars and there was not much firm ground left for parking so once again Jeffrey was despatched to the Up yard to find out whether there was any space available there or on the road to Quainton. The cars blocking the entrance were pushed back with much remonstration and the flow into the field continued again for a short while until the entrance was again blocked. The man on the gate now told me that traffic control had become impossible. He was not far wrong! An enormous queue had built up down the Waddesdon road, another queue was building up on the road to the Station, mainly of cars wanting to go back down the Waddesdon road which was blocked by the parked cars, and a jam had occurred somewhere up Snake Lane where a car had got stuck! At this moment Jeffrey arrived with the wonderful news that there was plenty of room over the bridge. What a relief! Parking in the field was abandoned, the Waddesdon and Aylesbury cars were diverted down towards Bicester, and the queue of customers was directed over the bridge, a few cars started coming out of the field and were directed to the Bicester road. The crisis was over, when out of the queue popped two police cars. One went up Snake Lane with a request to sort out the stuck car, the other disgorged a large Sergeant and a Constable who with good humour took over the traffic control and released the Society members to help push the bogged cars. About half the cars got out without assistance.
To most members car park duty is understandably a bore which is carried out in good spirit, for which I personally thank you. In addition I should like to thank Roy Miller and Peter Clarke who always take time to come and offer their help during the busy periods, John Mortham and his son who nearly always arrive at the end of the day to assist motorists at the exit, and young Andrew Buxton who stays all day parking cars and then is often left to walk home to Waddesdon.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 28 October 2017