Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
The 2 halves of Buckinghamshire Railway Centre - geograph.org.uk - 934865.jpg
View along the main line towards Quainton Road, showing the two sides of the centre, taken from the footbridge. Main buildings, from left-right: Ministry of Food Buffer-Depot; Brill Tramway platform; Quainton Road; the former building of Oxford Rewley Road
Established1969
Coordinates51°51′54″N 0°55′44″W / 51°51′54″N 0°55′44″W / 51.865; -0.929
TypeOperational railway museum
Key holdingsMetropolitan Railway E Class No.1
GWR 4073 Class No.5080 Defiant
GWR 6959 Class No.6989 Wightwick Hall
South African Class 25NC 4-8-4 No.3405
OwnerQuainton Railway Society (Some land leased from Network Rail)
Public transit accessQuainton Road or Aylesbury
WebsiteBucksRailCentre.org

Buckinghamshire Railway Centre is a railway museum operated by the Quainton Railway Society Ltd. at Quainton Road railway station, about 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England. The site is divided into two halves which are joined by two foot-bridges, one of which provides wheelchair access. Each side has a demonstration line with various workshop buildings as well as museum buildings.

History

Curving concrete station platform. There is a small wooden hut on the platform.
The curved Brill platform at Quainton Road. The short stretch of rail from this platform is the only surviving part of the Brill Tramway.

In 1962, the London Railway Preservation Society was formed. It bought a series of former London Underground vehicles and collectables, and holds the largest collection of London and North Western Railway memorabilia.[1] These were held at various sites around London, mainly two government depots at Luton and Bishop's Stortford,[2] making both access, restoration and preservation difficult.[1]

While other closed stations on the former MR lines north of Aylesbury were generally demolished or sold,[3] in 1969 the Quainton Railway Society was formed to operate a working museum at the station.[4] On 24 April 1971 the society absorbed the London Railway Preservation Society, taking custody of its collection of historic railway equipment.[5]

Restoration

The station was maintained in working order, used as a bookshop and ticket office.[6] The extensive sidings were still intact, and although disconnected from the mainline in 1967,[7] were used for locomotive restoration work.[4] The Society eventually restored the main station building to its 1900 appearance, renaming the site the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.[8] A smaller building on the former Brill platform, once a shelter for passengers waiting for Brill and down trains, was used first as a store then as a shop for a number of years before its current use to house an exhibit on the history of the Brill Tramway. A former London Transport building from Wembley Park was dismantled and re-erected at Quainton Road to serve as a maintenance shed.[9]

Mainline services

Chiltern Railways Class 121 'Bubble Car' diesel unit at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre on a shuttle service from Aylesbury on 3 May 2010

Although the BRC's trains are run on the former station sidings, the station still has a working Network Rail line passing through it. This connects Aylesbury with the Bletchley to Oxford cross-country route at Claydon (LNE) Junction. Regular landfill freight trains traverse the line from waste transfer depots in Greater London to the former brick pits at Calvert.[10]

From 1984 until 1990, the station briefly came back into passenger use, when special Christmas shopping services between Aylesbury and Bletchley were operated by British Rail Network SouthEast on Saturdays only, and stopped at Quainton Road.[11] From August Bank Holiday 1971 until the 1987 season, and again from August Bank Holiday 2001 the station has had special passenger trains from Aylesbury in connection with events at the Centre - these shuttles now run regularly each Spring and August Bank Holiday weekend.