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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 66 - Winter 1989 / 90
THE AYLESBURY RAILWAY
Pub: Oxford Publishing Co. £12.95 [Note 1]
It is a particular pleasure to review a book not only of local interest but moreover one written by a member of QRS. What, I wondered could possible warrant a whole book about this short (6m 7f 66y), straight ("once you had turned the corner of the line at Cheddington you looked straight at Aylesbury over the smokebox front") and level (gradients in four figures - see the museum exhibit at QRS) branch line deep in the Vale of Aylesbury? Bill Simpson reveals all in this fascinating saga of the line, opened 150 years ago, which through the farsightedness of a group of local entrepreneurs became the first railway to link Aylesbury to London, via a junction with the L & B at Cheddington. Gradiose plans to extend to Oxford were stillborn, and the line doomed to remain a branch when first the GWR and the the Met. arrived at Aylesbury. The vicissitudes and inevitable sad decline of a typical branch line are documented here.
Unlike many other books of its genre, this is not solely concerned with the minutiae of railways - although there is ample detail to satisfy the most fastidious enthusiast - but reviews the development of the line in the full economic and social context of the Aylesbury area.
The presentation and layout of the book are of the highest quality, with art paper used throughout, and the proof reading is faultless. The text is profusely illustrated with tables, diagrams and quality black & white photographs, all of great historical interest. One can only marvel at the extent and diligence of the research that has gone into this book.
My quibbles are very minor: the map on p47 is indecipherable, as is the plan of Marston Gate on p59, and more cross referencing between text and figures would have been useful.
This book is scholarly, rich in railway detail, and is written in a lucid and lively style. I cannot recommend it too highly. Buy it!
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 27 November 2017