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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 27 - Spring 1976
Quainton's Future - Planning for Progress
We are a Railway Preservation Society and we must devote our principal energies to the purchase, overhaul and restoration of railway relics. However, it is no use collecting and restoring relics if we have nowhere secure to keep them, we learnt this lesson very early in our history. We have always given priority to owning our site. This has given us the real security that can only come about by owning the land upon which our relics stand. Our second priority is providing covered accommodation for as many of our relics as we can and, in this too, we are forging ahead.
It has always been Society policy to operate as many of our relics as we can. This is done for two reasons, firstly, for educational purposes as this is part of our Charitable Status and, secondly, as an attraction for our visitors on Public Open Days, for without our visitors and the money that they provide, our Society could not exist, let alone expand. We must retain the interest and support of our members who also enjoy operating our relics, and this too has influenced our considerations in planning for the next ten years. In order to operate our larger relics we will need a greater length of line, and the following exciting paragraph is written in the Minutes of our Executive Committee's Meeting devoted to forward planning.
"To work towards the operation of trains outside the confines of Quainton . To install and provide facilities for the proper maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock with this in view."
Within these two sentences a wealth of meaning is contained upon which it would be 'prudent not to elaborate. Sufficient to say that we have detailed plans that we will implement.
Although we must always consider Quainton as one site - our Railway Preservation Centre, it is convenient to separate the two yards for purposes of Forward Planning.
We intend to retain this side of our site for the operations of our vintage trains, much as we do at present. Eventually we intend that the station area will become more of a Victorian setting. Our vintage rolling stock will be vacuum fitted and the purchase of a "new" open train, also vacuum fitted, will be made within the next couple of years. (We know the latter is really "cheating" but this is very popular with our visitors). Both trains will be worked by our steam locomotives with an emphasis upon the smaller four coupled locos. The new mechanical signalling system will also attempt to reflect a more Victorian setting as well as complying with the requirements of the Dept. of Environment.
The two buildings will be completed, the Restoration Building first, then the Wembley Building for the storage of rolling stock. A longer term project may be its extension into the land we already own at the rear of the building.
We feel improvements should be made for the servicing of locomotives, and we intend to remove the point now leading to the storage buildings adjacent to our site, for use in the Wembley Building. In place of this short length of track we will build a coaling stage. An ash pit will be built in number four track near the water tower.
Further long term plans will be the extension of our steaming track to the end of our site. We hope to obtain spoil for the embankment from the excavations for a pipeline shortly to cross our land at the Aylesbury end. Once we have provided extra siding space we feel it will be advantageous to join the short and long sidings at their far end. This will add variety to the steaming track by providing a passing loop and, at the same time, run round facilities. When a suitable signal box becomes available, this will be transported in one piece and installed where it can control all operations in the down yard.
Up Yard (see plan on centre pages)
Our plans for the Up Yard can conveniently be divided into three phases. Phase 1 can be carried out immediately, now that we own the Southern section of the yard. Phase 2 is a further development of Phase 1. Phase 3 should take place after five years, by then we hope to have purchased the remainder of the yard.
As policy, we do not intend to develop this yard for train operation. A short length of track will be set aside and fenced off for steaming purposes but will not be signalled. It had been intended to relay the long headshunt for this purpose but we now feel it would be better to concentrate our efforts on providing the facilities for our operations "outside the confines of Quainton".
We are going ahead immediately with Phase 1, and the design of the first section of the building is nearing completion. This will be built as a joint venture with the Society, and members will share the cost of erection as they have done with the Restoration Building in the down yard. It is intended that the Society will use the centre track of a five track building with a small workshop area included. Members taking part in the scheme will be given the use of a workshop as part of the overall plan.
Phase 2 of the building can still be built on the land we own, and will be a wholly Society venture that will provide a high level building with an overhead crane that will serve the heavy workshop area. It is intended to install heavy machine tools in this area as we can obtain them and eventually a wheel drop. Large end doors will allow easy transfer from road transport.
Phase 3 can only be built after we have purchased the remainder of the yard. The detailed plans for this area have yet to be finalised. Provisional ideas are for an Exhibition Hall to house our larger relics once they have been restored, an area devoted to the exhibition of small relics, a larger shop and on a second floor a meeting room or lecture hall for Members, which would double as a refreshment hall during Open Days. This room would then open out onto the roof of the workshop and thus provide a viewing area that would be popular with our visitors. New toilet facilities would also be included.
Our overall plans for this yard will closely follow the phases of the buildings. We have already fenced off the track nearest to the BR running line, a buffer stop will be fitted and this will then become our reception siding for stock movements off the BR track. The reinstatement of the connection will depend upon various things, not least, the availability of money. We anticipate that this would come about towards the end of the 5 year planning period by which time the long term future of the BR line will be resolved.
Such things as the installation of the water tower, which we have purchased from Watford (London Transport) will be carried out as labour becomes available. The relaying of the short length of headshunt and the extension of existing tracks into the building will come under Phase 1.
Our ability to include the purchase of the Station Building and Up platform in Phase 3 will again depend upon the long term future of the BR line. We will continue to restore this historic building to its original condition and it will remain the Society headquarters. Even if we are not allowed to buy this area, BR have indicated that we should be able to continue to rent "our" station .
We have made provision in our plans for car parking facilities adjacent to the weighbridge building which will remain. Mr Evans the coal merchant has expressed his willingness to move his coal stocks a little, and we look forward to his remaining as part of the Quainton scene.
We believe this programme is not only possible but also practical with shrewd financial management. The completion of the Restoration Building in the Down Yard is now largely financed. The Wembley Building will require money for a new roof, but the old roofing can then be used for the sides. Other expenditure in this yard should not be great. Phase 1 of the building in the Up Yard will be largely financed by Members with only a reasonable commitment from the Society. Phase 2 will be started only after we have recovered from the purchase of the land we have just bought. We must expect to pay more for a smaller area of land in our next negotiations with BR and this will decide exactly when we can start Phase 3 of the building. The closure of the BR line would of course present a new situation and we feel that we must meet this if it comes. We will ensure that our commitments do not overstretch our resources at any time so that we can review the situation if required.
Above all, we need your help, none of this will be possible without the voluntary help provided by you, our Members. Your labour will be invaluable for our plans to mature. We can then all look forward to continuing the building of our Railway Preservation Centre of which we can all be proud.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 05 November 2017