Quainton Road railway station

Quainton Road
Quainton Road Station 3.jpg
Up (southbound) platform and the main station building
AreaDistrict of Aylesbury Vale
Coordinates51°51′50″N 0°55′47″W / 51°51′50″N 0°55′47″W / 51.86381; -0.92966
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Quainton Road railway station was opened in 1868 in under-developed countryside near Quainton, in the English county of Buckinghamshire, 44 miles (71 km) from London. Built by the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway, it was the result of pressure from the 3rd Duke of Buckingham to route the railway near his home at Wotton House and to open a railway station at the nearest point to it. Serving a relatively underpopulated area, Quainton Road was a crude railway station, described as "extremely primitive".

The Duke of Buckingham built a short horse-drawn tramway to transport goods between his estates at Wotton and a terminus adjacent to the station. He extended it soon afterwards to provide a passenger service to the town of Brill, and the tramway was converted to locomotive operation, known as the Brill Tramway. All goods to and from the Brill Tramway passed through Quainton Road, making it relatively heavily used despite its geographical isolation, and traffic increased further when construction began on Ferdinand de Rothschild's mansion of Waddesdon Manor. The plan of extending the Brill Tramway to Oxford, which would have made Quainton Road a major junction station, was abandoned. Instead, the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway and the Brill Tramway were absorbed by London's Metropolitan Railway (MR), which already operated the line from Aylesbury to London. The MR rebuilt Quainton Road and re-sited it to a more convenient location, allowing through running between the Brill Tramway and the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway. When the Great Central Railway (GCR) from the north of England opened, Quainton Road became a significant junction at which trains from four directions met, and by far the busiest of the MR's rural stations.

In 1933 the Metropolitan Railway was taken into public ownership to become the Metropolitan line of the London Passenger Transport Board's London Underground, including Quainton Road. The LPTB aimed to move away from freight operations, and saw no way in which the rural parts of the MR could be made into viable passenger routes. In 1935 the Brill Tramway was closed. From 1936 Underground trains were withdrawn north of Aylesbury, leaving the London and North Eastern Railway (successor to the GCR) as the only operator using the station, although Underground services were restored for a short period in the 1940s. In 1963 stopping passenger services were withdrawn but fast passenger trains continued to pass through. In 1966 the line was closed to passenger traffic and local goods trains ceased using the station. The line through the station was singled and used by occasional freight trains only.

In 1969 the Quainton Road Society was formed with the aim of preserving the station. In 1971, it absorbed the London Railway Preservation Society, taking over its collection of historic railway equipment. The station was fully restored and reopened as a museum, the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. In addition to the original station buildings, the museum has also acquired the former Oxford Rewley Road railway station and a London Transport building from Wembley Park, both of which have been reassembled on the site. Although no scheduled trains pass through Quainton Road, the station remains connected to the railway network. Freight trains still use this line, and passenger trains still call at the station for special events at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.


On 15 June 1839 entrepreneur and former Member of Parliament for Buckingham, Sir Harry Verney, 2nd Baronet, opened the Aylesbury Railway.[1] Built under the direction of Robert Stephenson,[2] it connected the London and Birmingham Railway's Cheddington railway station, on the West Coast Main Line, to Aylesbury High Street railway station in eastern Aylesbury, the first station in the Aylesbury Vale.[3] On 1 October 1863 the Wycombe Railway opened a branch line from Princes Risborough railway station to Aylesbury railway station on the western side of Aylesbury, making Aylesbury the terminus of two small and unconnected branch lines.[3]

Meanwhile, to the north of Aylesbury, the Buckinghamshire Railway was being built by Sir Harry Verney.[4] The scheme consisted of a line running roughly south-west to north-east from Oxford to Bletchley, and a line running south-east from Brackley via Buckingham, joining roughly halfway along the Oxford–Bletchley line.[5] The first section opened on 1 May 1850, and the rest opened on 20 May 1851.[5] The Buckinghamshire Railway intended to extend the line southwards to connect to its station at Aylesbury, but this extension was not built.[1]

Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville (10 September 1823 – 26 March 1889),[3] the only son of Richard Plantagenet Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, was in serious financial difficulties by the middle of the 19th century.[6] The 2nd Duke had spent heavily on artworks, womanising, and attempting to influence elections,[6] and by 1847 he was nicknamed "the Greatest Debtor in the World".[7] Over 40,000 acres (16,000 ha) of the family's 55,000-acre (22,000 ha) estates, and their London home at Buckingham House, were sold to meet debts, and the family seat of Stowe House was seized by bailiffs as security and its contents sold.[6] The only property remaining in the control of the Grenville family was the family's relatively small ancestral home of Wotton House, and its associated lands around Wotton Underwood in Buckinghamshire.[8] Deeply in debt, the Grenvilles began to look for ways to maximise profits from their remaining farmland around Wotton, and to seek business opportunities in the emerging fields of heavy industry and engineering.[3] Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, who became the Marquess of Chandos on the death of his grandfather Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos in 1839, was appointed chairman of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) on 27 May 1857.[3] On the death of his father on 29 July 1861 he became the 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos,[6] and resigned from the chairmanship of the LNWR, returning to Wotton House to manage the family's remaining estates.[3]

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