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Illustrated Programme No. 3 Late Summer 1972

Brief History of Quainton Road

It may be difficult for visitors to Quainton Road today to realise that fifty years ago this was part of the London 'underground' system. Quainton Road has a very interesting history dating back to 1868 when the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway had opened, providing three trains daily between Aylesbury and Verney Junction, where connection was made with the LNWR services from Bletchley to Banbury and Oxford.

The Duke of Buckingham had been contemplating a tramway to serve his estate for many years, and he decided that the time was ripe now that Quainton was on the railway map. Parliamentary sanction was not required as the line was entirely on his own land, and so construction began in September 1870, eventually reaching the foot of Brill Hill in the summer of 1872. The line was known as the Wotton Tramway and was worked by two Aveling and Porter geared locomotives. It took approximately 100 minutes for the 6½ mile journey, at an average speed of 4 mph, with two return journeys daily. In 1883 it became involved in an ambitious scheme to link Oxford with Aylesbury, but due to lack of capital nothing came of this except the changing of name to the Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad Company.

On 1st July 1891, the Metropolitan Railway took over the A & B, building a new station at Quainton, and absorbed the Brill branch in 1899 at a rental of £600 per annum. The Great Central extension from Manchester was opened to expresses in the same year, using Metropolitan tracks from Quainton Road to Harrow. The Metropolitan & Great Central Joint Committee was formed on April 2nd 1906, and assumed control of the tramway, immediately improving the service to four trains each way daily.

The Met became part of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933, but by then passenger traffic had fallen drastically and the LPTB was not prepared to share the financial loss now being made, and it was closed on November 30th 1935. Met trains ceased to run beyond Aylesbury in the mid-forties, but the last main line train steamed through Quainton Road on 3rd September 1966, after which the track between Rugby and Aylesbury was lifted except for a section of single line through Quainton to Calvert retained for freight working.

On 30th August 1969 Quainton Road down yard, now owned by the Quainton Railway Society, was officially opened as a working railway museum, and we are sure that those of you who visited us then will appreciate the progress that has been made. Naturally much has still to be achieved, but this year should see the erection of covered accommodation for some of the 28 resident locomotives, together with the purchase of the larger up 'east' yard, which will enable us to spread our wings, instead of presenting the somewhat cramped appearance of to day.

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P I Clarke - 0-4-4T L44

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1972 and so does not reflect events in the 40+ 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.

Illustrated Programme No. 3 Late Summer 1972

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 07 December 2017