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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 29 - Autumn 1976
Quainton's East End
It is out of bounds to all but the specially invited but one of the more idyllic and peaceful parts of our property, (at least, in the summer!), is this autumn the scene of major industrial activity, albeit for only a short time. Already, at the end of August, marker posts were in position across the fields on both sides of the main line about ½ mile east of Quainton Road station and these indicate the working strip of land for the contractors who are laying a new 36in diameter high pressure welded steel pipeline for natural gas across Buckinghamshire. This is a part of a multi-million £'s project by British Gas called the Southern Feeder designed to reinforce the gas supplies to the South and West of the country. It will extend from Wisbech in Norfolk to Dorset and. no doubt many members have seen the enormous stacks of pipes at Wing and elsewhere ready for 'stringing' along the route.
If you imagine walking up the line towards Waddesdon Manor station and passing the buffer stops at the Aylesbury end of our long siding then you have about another 40 yards to go before you reach the position where this giant pipeline is being 'thrust bored' through the embankment of the old Aylesbury & Bucks main line. This boring is a technique which avoids disturbing the bank and doesn't stop traffic on the railway above. Our own long headshunt on the other side, the up side, will not be affected because its widened embankment ends just before the crossing of the pipeline. Now imagine standing at the site of the buffer stops at the Aylesbury end of the up side headshunt. Today, 29th August, it is completely overgrown with brambles and thick with rose willow bay herb. Looking down the Vale, about 50 yards away is the bed of a dried up stream, (but it is wet usually) and this is taken under the railway by a culvert. This formed the actual boundary of the property which we purchased from British Rail in December last year. Now the boundary is being adjusted by about 30ft towards Quainton Road away from the culvert and that part of the railway bank which has given quite a lot of trouble in the past due to slipping of the peculiar clay which is a characteristic feature of this district. It is interesting to notice the extra depth of ballast on the main line near the culvert, necessary to maintain level when, in the past, the bank had moved. Another feature of this length is the use of heavier section fishplates on the flat bottom tails. These were fitted before trains of 100 tons bogie oil tank car were planned. In fact, these heavy vehicles gave more trouble on this section when they did run and their operation was discontinued.
The Society's plans for this up side headshunt are to lift it because it is in a very poor condition indeed. The earlier section at the Quainton Road end is laid on wooden sleepers which are mostly 'rotten as pears' but the wartime extension of the headshunt which is laid on an ash widening of the main line embankment, has quite a number of concrete 'pot' sleepers which will be very useful elsewhere. The quality of the rail is variable but some lengths are only fit for scrap. Chairs include some nice GW and GC Joint pattern and some of genuine GWR origin.
The longer term plans are to relay the line with sound material as a special track for exercising larger locomotives in the up yard such as Kings, Halls, Class 4 2-6-0's, various Ivatt classes, Pannier tanks, and so on!
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 11 November 2017