West of AmershamThe Metropolitan Railway used to operate a service quite a distance west of Amersham, deep into Buckinghamshire, operating much more like a mainline railway. Prior to the 1930s, the line was electrified as far as Rickmansworth with steam locomotives maintaining the service westwards. The line continued west of Amersham and served Aylesbury, Quainton Road, and then to Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire. A branch was also maintained by the Metropolitan to Brill, a location not too far away from Oxford and many plans were made to continue in that direction.
However, in the 1930s it was decided to run the Metropolitan more as an urban railway and it was decided to close its westernmost extremities. On 30th November 1935, the Brill branch closed. The service between Aylesbury and Verney Junction survived anther few months, closing on 11th July 1936.
Amersham to Quainton RoadWhen the Metropolitan line decided to close all lines west of Ammersham in 1936, a station between Amersham and Quainton Road called Waddesdon (initially called Waddesdon Manor) closed. Today, only one platform is visible of this station - it never re-opened and the station didn't serve the mainline trains that continued in that direction for a while.
Waddesdon Manor station, as it is today, with it's sole surviving overgrown platform. Looking towards Quainton Road
Aylesbury station continued to be used as a mainline station from 1933 onwards, but on 3rd May 1943 Aylesbury and Quainton Road became a Metropolitan Line destination again. The service to Quainton Road finally ceased on 29th May 1948 with a service to Aylesbury surviving until 10th August 1961 (though the Great Central Railway continued to provide passenger services along this route until September 3rd 1966). The line between Amersham and Aylesbury continues as a mainline track today carrying on north west of Aylesbury all the way beyond Verney Junction but is today only used for goods services.
The services from Rickmansworth to Amersham and Chesham continued to be powered by steam until finally electrified on 12th September 1960.
Stations no longer covered by the Metropolitan beyond Amersham are Great Missenden, Wendover, Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury, where the line terminates.
Today, Quainton Road station remains open as the headquarters for the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, where many vintage steam locomotives and coaches can be observed. A special passenger shuttle from Aylesbury is organised by the Centre on special days several times a year - this is the only way the public can now ride this branch.
Just to give a sense of scale of the distances involved in these outlying parts of what used to be the Metropolitan Line, Quainton Road is nearly 45 miles from Baker Street!
Quainton Road to Verney JunctionWhen the Metropolitan Railway Company took over this existing line, they did a lot of work to improve the line to provide a higher standard of service. Nothing really came of their plans to extend further north and eventually it fell into disuse. Find out more of what I saw of this forgotten branch line including many pictures of what remains there today.
A sad looking Verney Junction station, as it lies today, abandoned
Quainton Road to BrillProbably the strangest of any line that's been part of the London Underground, this branch has a fascinating history of how it almost but not quite became an important part of the Underground network. In March 2005, I went to investigate to see what was left to see of the Tramway, as it was known. Find out more about this sleepy branch line in the heart of Buckinghamshire, now long gone and often difficult to trace on the ground today, including many pictures of what evidence still remains.
Quainton Road's Brill Branch platform
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Grid Reference data for locations given in Ordinance Survey grid reference notation. You can look at online maps from these grid locations by cutting and pasting them into Multimap. From here you can also see some detailed and informative aerial photographs of the track route.
Aerial photograph of Verney Junction, taken on 5th January 2003 by Martin Saunders.
All material on this page is © 2005 Hywel Williams unless otherwise noted.
Research material used to derive the line's history:
Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
The Wotton Tramway (Brill Branch) by Ken Jones - Locomotion Papers Number 75
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