Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Logo

BRC Website Home
Quainton Virtual Stockbook
Quainton Guides

Quainton Guide 1976

Historical Introduction to Quainton Road

It may seem strange to the casual visitor to Quainton Road to be told that the station was once part of the London Underground system, but this is, in fact, the case. Until 1936 the Metropolitan Railway extended more than fifty miles from Central London and ended amid the peaceful farmland of Buckinghamshire. The 'Met' was the world's first underground railway, and started operating in 1863. It originally ran only from Paddington to Farringdon, but within a few years the line burrowed further into the City and reached out into the suburbs northwest of Baker Street into an area that became known as 'Metroland'. The railway's chairman, Sir Edward Watkin, was extremely ambitious, and wanted to run a main line from Manchester to Dover, and eventually to Paris via the Channel Tunnel in which he had interests. As part of this grand dream he extended the 'Met' in 1892 from Chalfont & Latimer, where it had terminated, to Amersham and Stoke Manderville.

North of Quainton, the Buckinghamshire Railway passed through the estates of Sir Harry Verney who was the Chairman of the Company. In 1855 the Duke of Buckingham rejected a scheme for a railway to serve the districts to the south of the Buckinghamshire line, but in 1860 the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway was incorporated, with the Duke as Chairman and Sir Harry as Deputy Chairman. The route was south-west from the Qxford and Blatchley line at Claydon (named 'Verney Junction' after Sir Harry) to a mile or so west of Quainton village, then south-west to an end-on connection at Aylesbury with the GWR branch from Princes Risborough. The latter was opened in 1863, and the line through Quainton Road on 23rd September 1868.

The value of the A & B R to the Duke's estate was recognised when the route was taken as near as practicable to Wotton by keeping to the west of Quainton Hill and the village, which explains its position today. In 1868 plans were made for the construction of a branch to his estates. Parliamentary powers were not needed as the route was entirely over the Duke's own land with the exception of a small amount of property near Quainton Road which he leased from the Winwood Charity.

Building started in September 1870 and by March of the following year wagons were moving over the horse tramway. A formal opening took place on 1st April 1871 of the 4 miles to Wotton. In November of the same year the 1½ mile branch to Church Siding was opened and in the summer of 1872 Brill was reached.

Waddesdon Road station, 8th April 1933

H C Casserley - Waddesdon Road station, 8th April 1933

4-4-0 tank No. 23 at Brill station, 8th April 1933

H C Casserley - 4-4-0 tank No. 23 at Brill station, 8th April 1933

Through goods and passenger traffic was envisaged from the earliest days of the Wotton Tramway, and a scale of charges for various commodities was published jointly by the A &B R and the Tramway on 12th November 1872.

The layout at Quainton Road a hundred years ago was very simple. The platform serving the A &B R main line was approximately where the road overbridge now stands and there was a level crossing for the road between Waddesdon and Quainton on the Aylesbury side of the station. The Wotton Tramway was served by a number of sidings, a substantial building and there was a connection to the main line for transfer of goods wagons. No knowledge of any passenger workmg through Brill from the 'main' at that period has been recorded although fares were quoted to distant destinations from the Tramway stations. See page 11 for a map of the Tramway.

Passenger traffic was always very scanty and the revenue on the branch was obtained typically from agricultural products, coal, chalk and felled timber.

On 15th November 1894 the Oxford and Aylesbury Tramway Company took over the working of the Wotton Tramway. This Company had been formed in 1883 with plans to extend from Brill to Oxford, but it never actually purchased the freehold of the Tramway; it simply owned the stock and worked the line with running powers.

The 'Met', now extended to Aylesbury, took over the A &B R on 1st July 1891 as another part of Sir Edward Watkin's dream. They soon put major improvements in hand and the station we know today was built in the 1890's at the time the line through from Aylesbury to Verney was doubled. During the reconstruction the level crossing was replaced by the existing overbridge and the general picture became very similar to the Quainton Road with which we are so familiar.

Map showing the railways around Quainton Road.

Map showing the railways around Quainton Road.

For two years Metropolitan trains provided the only traffic from the new station, but great schemes were causing excitement in the district - the coming of the Great Central to London. Sir Edward again! The route of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway's London extension joined the Met 1 mile north-west of Quainton Road station adjacent to the brick works near Upper South Farm.

The following years were the hey-day of Quainton Road station - a busy junction with the main line trains running through and a good local service. In 1906 the station came under the control of the Met & GC Joint Committee. Wartime traffic was very heavy indeed especially the mineral traffic.

But in the post-war years the threat of the motor lorry and car became a reality. The Brill branch was the first to succumb on the 2nd December 1935. In the following year from 6th July 1936 the Met Railway service to Verney Junction was withdrawn and Quainton Road ceased to be a junction for passenger traffic. The freight only link with Verney died in stages. One track was taken out of use in 1940, the other fell into disuse during the last war, and the junction was finally removed in 1946. In the late forties Metropolitan trains ceased to run beyond Aylesbury, but the LNER (later BR) continued to serve Quainton until 4th March 1963 when the station was closed. The goods yard closed on 4th July 1966, and the last main line passenger train steamed through Quainton Road on 5th September 1966, after which the track between Rugby and Aylesbury was lifted, except for a single line through Quainton retained for freight working from Bletchley.

For three years Quainton Road stood derelict and the only life came from the occasional passage of trains to and from Aylesbury via the Calvert spur, and from the coal yard, but 4th April 1969 saw the beginning of a new chapter at Quainton Road. Preserved locomotives began to arrive!

Syon Park Advert

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1976 and so does not reflect events in the 41+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Quainton Guide 1976

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Email Webmaster
Page Updated: 29 December 2017