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Knowing that a great many RMWeb members are devotees of the work of Rev Peter Denny, I am promoting this topic from being a minor diversion in my main thread to become a separate topic.

 

It originated in the fact that my two hobbies, railways and cycling, often coincide, because many of my bike rides take me into the area in which Rev Denny set his ever-evolving model railway, The Buckingham Branches, which is rich with real, let alone imagined, railway history. To be honest, so steeped am I in the story of Buckingham GCR, that it seems more real than the real thing, so I tend to ascribe abandoned bridges and cuttings to the Great Central, even where they had nothing to do with it.

 

For those unfamiliar with the area, it is probably worth beginning with a bare-bones summary of the real, and rather complicated, history.

 

The area in question lay between the zones of influence of the two early main line railway companies that were fighting forLondon to Birmingham traffic, the L&B/LNWR to the east,and the GWR to the west. The great landowners knew that development and prosperity were contingent upon getting railways into, rather than simply around the edges of, their territory. 


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Aylesbury was a target for both main line companies, the L&B/LNWR getting there first with a simple branch, followed by the GWR pushing a broad-gauge line in via Princes Risborough, but Buckingham was a backwater, not an objective worth fighting over, so after the fading of some highly speculative plans for a main-line linking the GWR at Aylesbury with the Nottinghamshire coalfields it was left to local interests to promote an east-west axis, and a vaguely north-south axis. The east-west axis, and the northern arm got built in the 1850s, and were quickly assimilated into the LNWR (no surprise since the Buckinghamshire Railway and the LNWR shared a Chairman, in the person of the local MP and son of the Duke of Buckingham). 
 

The southerly link took a lot longer. It was eventually squeezed into existence from Verney Junction as far as Aylesbury in the late 1860s, the local promoters having it worked for them by the GWR, and eventually selling it to the Metropolitan Railway, which was in expansionist mood and not being careful with its money at the time.

 

The GCR, around which Denny themed his layouts, was a very late arrival, and even then it was really only passing through, not seriously seeking local markets.

 

I suppose that the logical place to start a tour of Buckingham Branch territory might be Buckingham itself but, for reasons too dull to go into, we start some miles to the east, at Stony Stratford.

 

Here is the original map, and my surmise that takes more account of local geography, notably hills.

 

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The very first iteration of Buckingham GCR terminus was envisaged to be linked to the GCR main line at Finmere, of which more later, and to have a long “twig” extending to a tiny terminus at Stony Stratford. 
 

The Reverend’s own sketch-map shows the route to Stony as laying along the northern part of the valley of the Great Ouse, in the bottom edge of Northamptonshire, and having its terminus to the north of the river, in about the only place locally where rising ground would put the station in a cutting, as he did. This is a good course, effectively that followed by the Buckingham Branch Canal, but it puts the terminus not in Stony Stratford, but in Old Stratford, the two being about a mile apart, with a wide flood-plain between them.

 

This decoration has recently been added to the village to show where the canal passed under The Watling Street in a short tunnel, roughly where the GCR station never was.


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The model of Stony Stratford was the first of the series of “folding box” termini that Denny built, the hinges in the middle being hidden by a road bridge over the centre of the station, which he excused by saying that the line was meant to extend to Wolverton, but ran out of money, which seems plausible enough. 
 

Crossing the flood plain we see the bridge carrying The Watling Street, and also, rather briefly, the Wolverton & Stony Stratford Steam Tramway, which ran as far as Deanshangerfor about a year.

 

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At the edge of the plain stood a very large corn mill, which burned down in a much-discussed fire in 1985 and was replaced by this block of flats, built in the same general style and shape. I’ve speculated a lightly-laid branch/siding, crossing the water-meadows on a spidery trestle, to serve this.

 

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Which brings us to the High Street, along which clattered the steam trams, with its famous coaching inns, and an ironmongery that is still in the family that founded it to serve canal navvies. Some decent pubs, and a chemist’s shop that is more famous as a café in the film “Withnail and I”.


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Quite a decent destination for a branch line, if only it wasn’t going in the wrong direction, with a terminus on the wrong side of the river.

 

Onwards to Buckingham soon!

Edited by Nearholmer
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The country between Stony and Buckingham consists of the broad valley of the Ouse, and the rolling hills either side; pleasant, but unspectacular. The only village of note is Deanshanger, which once boasted a large ironworks http://deanshangerironworks.co.uk/history_2.html which would surely have merited a private siding from the GCR, given that it merited a failed tramway extension!

 

Approaching Buckingham, the river throws off a branch to the south, with a plain covered in water-meadows between the two arms, then the main river valley steepens somewhat, so that the High Street is on a shelf along the northern side, and this is where Denny's early imaginings begin to come into conflict with the real topography.
 

Crossing the river valley other than by the main road bridge involves quite a decent descent, then back-lanes steep enough to set the middle-aged cyclist puffing slightly ....... There is really only really enough room for the one railway that the Buckinghamshire Ry./LNWR put there at some expense, not two, and the two routes leaving Denny's imagined first terminus would have really struggled to turn sharply as they faced rising ground. This is not alpine scenery, and anything can be done given enough money time and effort, but the sketch map drawn by The Reverend is rather difficult to reconcile with reality.

 

I’ve marked the LNWR on this topo map in black, and the issue for a GCR route going left to right, with approach curves in and out of a terminus on a N-S axis becomes apparent - there isn’t really room across the valley floor. Added to which, the spur of land that I’ve ringed, which one might want to cut through, has on it the large parish church and the ancient Royal Latin Grammar School. It’s notable that the LNWR goods yard was 1/2 mile down the line from the station, because there wasn’t really anywhere else to put it.

 

An second railway might just fit along the valley, it’s the idea of the curves n and out that scupper things, I think.

The LNWR route goes from viaduct, to embankment, to a deep, and impressively boggy cutting in a short length. IIRC I was standing on one of the river bridges when I took this, before going up onto the track-bed, which is a really poor-quality cycleway.


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This picture shows the view from down by the river, looking up towards the LNWR line, taken a couple of hundred yards to the left of the above (apologies for poor lighting).

 

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This one shows a big old mill a bit further down stream, which had a long siding curving down to it from the LNWR, crossing the old course of the river, the flow being diverted into the mill race. The photo above shows the divergence and illustrates clearly how the flow is now back in the old course, the siding being long-gone.

 

Here the usable floor of the valley past the mill is only about 200 yards wide.

 

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All things considered, it seems unlikely that the plan was to make a shallow tunnel beneath the parish church, or a cutting through the church-yard, to get away to Stony Stratford, but that does seem the most viable route!

 

Here you can see how the church sits on a spur of higher ground, in this case viewed from the SE, across the valley - the river is down in there behind the pub.

 

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Up near the church are very many old and interesting buildings spanning several hundred years of construction. Here the church viewed from a detached graveyard, with the Manor House on the right.

 

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Edited by Nearholmer
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Going west towards Finmere, the issue for the route is an area of relatively high land, up to about 420ft, between the valleys of the two arms of the river, which are at about 260ft. 

Again, not alpine, but the GCR main line involved a very big cutting, and lots of fill, to maintain levels through Finmere, and the branch would have needed quite a bit of cut and fill to give an even gradient up the side-valley through Tingewick.

 

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Finmere station was advertised “For Buckingham”, and even got a slip-coach from a Down business express in the evening, but what it was really “For” was a five mile walk, or an expensive cab ride, into Buckingham.

 

The good reverend quickly spotted the challenges of this route, or rather decided to revise his model railway, and moved on to another iteration, this time the line was to run from Buckingham to Calvert, further south on the GCR main line, via the village of Gawcott, and Tingewick was to be served by a "twig".

 

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From the point of view of the real railway engineer, this is a slightly better route, because at Buckingham it doesn't involve the awkward curves facing into high ground of the first version. Denny seems to have envisaged the terminus being south of the LNWR, which would have put it rather outside the town centre, in an area called Mount Pleasant, probably at about the same elevation as the LNWR, or a few feet higher.

 

The route would probably have worked-out in terms of earth-moving too, because once south of Gawcott it could have crossed low-lying ground on a slight embankment, using fill obtained from cuttings nearer to Buckingham. The twig to Tingewick might have been slightly more difficult, but not greatly so.

 

This route would have needed good relations with the powerful Verney family though, because it crossed their lands near Steeple Claydon. I'm not sure how this would have played-out c1900, but earlier it would almost certainly have gone badly, given their close involvement in the Buckinghamshire Ry./LNWR route.

 

Gawcott did, incidentally, briefly have a real railway about twenty-five years ago, when the resident of the rectory began to build a 2ft gauge line in his paddock, using ex-industrial railway material.

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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I think you may be going into such things as the lay of the land far more than peter Denny ever did.

 

He pretty much chose place names from a map book and was only really concerned with if the were in the right sort of places for a liner to have been built between them.

 

It is, nevertheless, very interesting to see photos of the real places that the fiction was based upon.

 

I have often driven through the area but never stopped because I have always had to be somewhere in a hurry but I always feel it is my spiritual home when I pass signs to Buckingham and Leighton Buzzard etc. 

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35 minutes ago, t-b-g said:

I think you may be going into such things as the lay of the land far more than peter Denny ever did.

  

 

I'm sure I am, probably because I'm a semi-retired railway engineer on a bike ride, both of which make for topography-consciousness, and he was a clergyman with a model railway to build, living for most of the time quite a long way from his subject-area.

 

Perhaps you might find time to divert from your driving on a summer day; its worth it, because some of the villages away from the main roads are actually very interesting.

Edited by Nearholmer
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11 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

 

I'm sure I am, probably because I'm a semi-retired railway engineer on a bike ride, both of which make for topography-consciousness, and he was a clergyman with a model railway to build, living for most of the time quite a long way from his subject-area.

 

Perhaps you might find time to divert from your driving on a summer day; its worth it, because some of the villages away from the main roads are actually very interesting.

 

No doubt all will be revealed in due course but I wonder if you found any prototypes for the non railway buildings on Buckingham? I understand that a small number of models were based on real structures in the area, including the Swan Hotel at the model Leighton Buzzard.

 

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Edited by t-b-g
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Well, one thing that this has made me realise is that I take very few photos when out cycling. In fact I linger too little to look around places, and I'm going to have to make some slower visits on shanks's pony.

 

Certainly The Swan on the final version of LB looks very like a hotel/pub right in the middle of the real Buckingham, The White Hart, so that definitely deserves a photo, and I'm fairly sure that the mill/canal area that crops up on the layouts is to some degree based on Bourton, as seen here https://millsarchive.org/explore/mills/entry/5583/bourton-mill-buckingham#.XcnaGS2cY6U which is now a health club.


Autumn afternoon photo added.

 

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We now come to the "classic" version of the branch, which I guess is the one most of us remember from so many magazine articles.

 

The Reverend sensibly decided that the GCR should take over what had become the Metropolitan Railway line from Quainton Road to Verney Junction, and extend it too Buckingham.

 

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Whether he knew it or not, the route selected was one that had figured in multiple railway proposals, from the 1840s to the 1890s, all of which intended going onwards, north of Buckingham to somewhere else. The "somewhere" varied a bit, from Nottinghamshire in the 1840s to lowly Towcester by the 1890s. It ran up the eastern side of the shallow valley along which the Buckinghamshire Ry./LNWR ran on the western side, and it would probably have put the forecourt of Buckingham Central in a really good location: Waitrose car-park!

 

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12 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

Well, one thing that this has made me realise is that I take very few photos when out cycling. In fact I linger too little to look around places, and I'm going to have to make some slower visits on shanks's pony.

 

Certainly The Swan on the final version of LB looks very like a hotel/pub right in the middle of the real Buckingham, The White Hart, so that definitely deserves a photo, and I'm fairly sure that the mill/canal area that crops up on the layouts is to some degree based on Bourton, as seen here https://millsarchive.org/explore/mills/entry/5583/bourton-mill-buckingham#.XcnaGS2cY6U which is now a health club.

 

Here’s a borrowed photo for now.

 

 

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I remember Peter telling my that the original that the model was based on wasn't a "Swan" but because he couldn't find a suitable model of the right animal, he changed the name to suit a small animal model that he had, namely a swan!

 

There is also a very similar hotel nearby somewhere, which differs in having ornate stonework along the top of the front wall but is otherwise similar, which is called The Swan.

 

At one show I had two people disagreeing over which one it was based on but your illustration proves it beyond doubt. It is a model of the White Hart but renamed "The Swan".

 

There are two small mill buildings which are pure John Ahern design, one at Leighton Buzzard and one at Buckingham canal wharf . I am not sure of the origin of the bigger building by the canal. If I can help with any photos of the buildings on Buckingham, please let me know.  

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You own Buckingham!? 
 

What a delight, and what a responsibility.

 

When I get time, I will get some photos of the Bourton area, because although the mill building on the layout may not match the real one, I’m convinced that the quite unusual juxtaposition of river with mill, and canal behind, does owe something to the place, and, as I will illustrate in due course, it is “in the right place”, on the curve away from the terminus heading south.

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There is a pub/hotel in Leighton Buzzard that looks similar and is called the Swan.

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Yes, its a Weatherspoons now, I think, much fancier decoration, ironwork, a big model swan on the very top of the front etc. I'll phot that one for comparison next time I go that way ....... its different enough that I'm pretty certain it isn't the one.

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

You own Buckingham!? 
 

What a delight, and what a responsibility.

 

When I get time, I will get some photos of the Bourton area, because although the mill building on the layout may not match the real one, I’m convinced that the quite unusual juxtaposition of river with mill, and canal behind, does owe something to the place, and, as I will illustrate in due course, it is “in the right place”, on the curve away from the terminus heading south.

 

Indeed I do have Buckingham here. You are right, responsibility and delight just about sum the situation up!

 

The layout gets a great deal of TLC and is operated regularly and I do my best to treat it with the respect it clearly deserves.

 

Which is why I was most interested in your thread.

 

The idea that the old thing still has people interested after all these years delighted Peter in his later years and does me too.

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Yes! i am old enough to remember looking forward to Peter Denny's next "episode" in the magazine. (I recently disposed of my past issues of the magazines of the time, so can't refresh my memory) I do remember that his son was in charge of preparing the trains for the return journey, and in time there became the need to have an "Automatic Crispin" resulting in the first cassettes that I remember. 

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Like the O.P., I've always been fascinated by Buckingham—perhaps because it was in the first issue of Railway Modeller I bought (September 1969 ISTR). I've always wondered what would have happened if the line had existed in reality (and I'm far from the only person to have done so). Perhaps it would still be open, being served by Chiltern Railways—at least if the real Buckingham had grown to the extent that the model one did!

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For Mr Deltic.

 

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When I moved to the area nearly forty years ago, I made a special trip to Buckingham, and boy, was I disappointed by how unlike the thriving model-metropolis it was. It was probably at its nadir then, a really run-down place, and it has since become prosperous, slightly over-burdened by its increased population almost.

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Now a map and a few photos of the route that the definitive version would have taken into the town.

 

This route would have avoided all the great expense that the Buckinghamshire Ry/LNWR went to in digging a great cutting to the south of the town in order to keep west of the river but, for the reasons explained in a previous post, it couldn’t realistically have continued westwards. [See subsequent post for discussion of a proposal for a real railway that would have continued westward through the town.]

 

Of course, this is all a guess, but comparison with The Reverend’s sketch maps and the layouts suggest that it was probably not far from what he had in mind.

 

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Here is the logical place for the terminus, Waitrose to our right, and the High Street is just off to the right, slightly higher. We are looking towards the buffer stops.

 

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The route out of town is still accessible, should anyone want to build a real railway, if rather wet at the moment, a series of water meadows that are now parks, and (today) flooded sports fields.

 

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The church spire acts as a good marker as the river curves away down-stream.

 

The canal toward Stony Stratford shared the same valley, and the old wharf area is now a conglomeration of builders merchants, the buildings at the entrance clearly being original. I did attempt to reach the canal, some of which still has water in it, but gave up due to flooding - I thought I might accidentally stroll into the canal!

 

Further on we come to Bouton Mill, where river and canal were in close proximity.
 

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Building a station on the site of a carpark now there's a piece of justice.

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Perhaps less just if we step back to c1900, when the GCR might have arrived in town, because the area was meadow and allotments then, I think.

 

It floods fairly often - close to it over the past few days, and the lower part of the town was badly inundated in 2007, so I hope the GCR built the ground up a bit.

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Next, a few pictures of buildings in the town. Because it was a backwater from c1800 until about twenty-five years ago, there has been little redevelopment, and there is a vast number of really interesting buildings - it genuinely is a resource for the potential railway modeller.

 

A serious case of window-tax avoidance?

 

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Nice row of stables and workshops built up against the hillside.

 

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I need to find out what this was originally, possibly always an assembly room.

 

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The high street is on two parallel levels, and the old gaol is now a museum with a good section devoted to Flora Thompson, author of ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’, which is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the pace of life in this part of the world c1900.

 

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And, a randomly selected bit of modernity. This garage stood semi-derelict for years, before becoming a restaurant quite recently.


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That's probably enough of Buckingham itself for now, so we'll follow the imaginary railway south to Granborough Junction.

 

Between the two is the village of Padbury, which logically ought to have had a small model station on the GCR, but I don't think it ever got one, so here is a picture of the superbly horticultural station on the LNWR. This station was latterly staffed solely by a lady porter, who was employed during WW2 as a temporary expedient, but was still in post when the line closed 24 years later. Not only did she run a station, but she found time to run a family of six children too!

 

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So where exactly was Granborough Junction? Almost certainly where Winslow Road Station was, and not, slightly confusingly, where Granborough Road Station was."Road" in the name of a station is a solid clue to it being a long walk from anywhere, and so it was with both of these, and Quainton Road come to that.

 

Here we are just south east of Verney Junction, looking at the Aylesbury & Buckingham (later Metropolitan, later still Met&GC Jt.) line heading south. The red arrow points to the embankment, and the location of Winslow Road Station was where the ringed cluster of pylons stands.

 

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Climbing up onto the embankment and looking north east, we can see the LNWR heading for Winslow, and a big field. This poses a question about levels, and I'm guessing that the Faux-GCR would have crossed above the LNWR somewhere to the left of the highlighted bridge. which carries the LNWR over a minor road, better known as part of National Cycle Route 51, my usual route into this area.

 

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And, this is looking along the old track bed.

 

45C162EE-5849-4241-BCAA-524A48F169EF.jpeg.72f7bb2109f50a0dbb48e2b403f401e9.jpeg

 

Now we are at Winslow Road, or Granborough Junction as it really was. The building is, I think, the much-extended station master's house, and there is a tiny bit of platform visible in the front garden. There was a level crossing where the road humps-up slightly. Lots of photos and more history here http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/winslow_road/


3C52AFF8-822F-4A41-9062-323D987DB829.jpeg.06125fae0c4c13f46f84b0c2e68c6d39.jpeg

 

Looking back towards the Buckingham direction, the embankment is among the shrubbery to the left, and the GCR would have diverged from this line to slightly disturb the sheep.

 

4A04C0CF-4074-4075-9F65-9D8BAD02B2D5.jpeg.6349b7c52d8970b08a2eb4eec15725d6.jpeg

 

I still can't really fathom why the Met. spent so much money doubling this line and turning Granborough Road and Winslow Road stations, which are only about a mile and a half apart, from wayside halts into well-appointed places that looked distinctly suburban ........... unless they had a plot in mind to build thousands of houses here, and grow the commuter traffic, which was their usual attack. Glad they didn't.

 

The model Granborough Junction is my favourite of those on The Buckingham Branches, I think because it has that wonderful suggestion of railway busyness in the middle of nowhere, and lots of operating potential, but it doesn't really look much like the real locale, which is a bit flat and boring, because The Reverend added a bit of relief to allow for some very artistic scenic breaks.

 

Incidentally, off the road from Winslow Road Station into Winslow (naturally long, and up hill), there is a small cul-de-sac called Chiltern Court, which either shows that the person who named it was knowledgable of Met. matters, or is a huge coincidence, because Chiltern Court is the luxurious mansion block that the Met built over and aound Baker Street station - it famously had its own siding to take away rubbish, and the LT lost property department, in its undercroft.

 

There's another thread on the go talking about the reality of the LNWR line through Verney Junction, and it diverts onto the Met & GC Jt section also, so if you are interested in what trains really ran here, then this is the place to look 

 

 

Note: spellchecker keeps knocking the "d" out of Grandborough. It seems to know about the change of name of the village, which decided at some stage that it wasn't really grand at all, despite the fact that it belongs to HMQ.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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"I still can't really fathom why the Met. spent so much money doubling this line .........."

 

Well, I think I've got to the bottom of it now.

 

This proposal https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25995/page/6385 sets out plans by the Met, rather than the MS&L, to build what emerged as the southern part of the GC London Extension, covers the acquisition of the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway and its upgrading, and (the bits providing the explanation I was looking for) seeks running powers for the Met over part of the LNWR Banbury branch, and facilitates the making of running agreements between the LNWR, Met, GNR, SER, and the smaller railways across the Banbury-Northampton axis..

 

To me, this looks like asking for permission to use the LNWR line to get trains northwards while building the new line, or perhaps it amounts to Plan A and Plan B to achieve the objective of getting northwards, an anticipation that one of the plans would get bogged-down by objections or by lack of money.

 

In short, it seems to be Watkin's grand plan laid out in some detail, and in this case being driven from the London end.

 

How much of this, beyond the A&BR bit, got authorised, I have yet to discover, but it does raise the intriguing prospect of Met trains chuffing to Buckingham and beyond.

 

I imagine that the LNWR might have objected to at least some of this!

 

Exactly the same proposal had been put forward by one of the other partners, the Worcester & Broom Railway, two years earlier - was the W&BJ also a Watkinsbahn?


3BF2CCC1-B9C4-41D3-ABA1-0A02BF2387DC.jpeg.0fbe3ec279e44c6e0ef704374f7f8f80.jpeg

 

And, here https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27138/page/7486 is a late-flowering (1900) of the Towcester, Buckingham & Metropolitan Junction Railway, which would have followed pretty much the course that I've postulated for the GCR line into Buckingham, then squeezed up the valley, through the town, to Radclive, cheek-by-jowl with the LNWR. Presumably this is what emerged when the LNWR objected to having running-powers foist upon it by the Met. .......... I find it hard to believe that Rev Denny wasn't aware of this proposal.

 

Interestingly, the LNWR and the TB&MetJ lines were to be only 180 yards apart at Radclive, which fits nicely with my estimate of the usable space across the valley floor at the squeeze point being about 200 yards.

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

"I still can't really fathom why the Met. spent so much money doubling this line .........."

 

Well, I think I've got to the bottom of it now.

 

This proposal https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25995/page/6385 sets out plans by the Met, rather than the MS&L, to build what emerged as the southern part of the GC London Extension, covers the acquisition of the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway and its upgrading, and (the bits providing the explanation I was looking for) seeks running powers for the Met over part of the LNWR Banbury branch, and facilitates the making of running agreements between the LNWR, Met, GNR, SER, and the smaller railways across the Banbury-Northampton axis..

 

To me, this looks like asking for permission to use the LNWR line to get trains northwards while building the new line, or perhaps it amounts to Plan A and Plan B to achieve the objective of getting northwards, an anticipation that one of the plans would get bogged-down by objections or by lack of money.

 

In short, it seems to be Watkin's grand plan laid out in some detail, and in this case being driven from the London end.

 

How much of this, beyond the A&BR bit, got authorised, I have yet to discover, but it does raise the intriguing prospect of Met trains chuffing to Buckingham and beyond.

 

I imagine that the LNWR might have objected to at least some of this!

 

Exactly the same proposal had been put forward by one of the other partners, the Worcester & Broom Railway, two years earlier - was the W&BJ also a Watkinsbahn?


https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/3BF2CCC1-B9C4-41D3-ABA1-0A02BF2387DC.jpeg.0fbe3ec279e44c6e0ef704374f7f8f80.jpeg

 

And, here https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27138/page/7486 is a late-flowering (1900) of the Towcester, Buckingham & Metropolitan Junction Railway, which would have followed pretty much the course that I've postulated for the GCR line into Buckingham, then squeezed up the valley, through the town, to Radclive, cheek-by-jowl with the LNWR. Presumably this is what emerged when the LNWR objected to having running-powers foist upon it by the Met. .......... I find it hard to believe that Rev Denny wasn't aware of this proposal.

 

Interestingly, the LNWR and the TB&MetJ lines were to be only 180 yards apart at Radclive, which fits nicely with my estimate of the usable space across the valley floor at the squeeze point being about 200 yards.

 

 

 

 

That's interesting Kevin.

I'm not sure that Peter Denny was all that concerned with the finer details of where he was putting his imaginary GCR . "Following my usual practice of building the layout first and then looking for a suitable place to put it on the map afterwards, it was now necessary to find a name for the new junction station, and as there was nowhere between Finmere and Buckingham where such a station could be sited the railway map of Buckinghamshire had to be redrawn again" It is of course far easier to redraw an imaginary line on a map and to alter a bit of railway history than it is to rebuild a model railway.

 

It is nevertheless very entertaining to work out a more detailed story and route than I suspect Peter Denny ever did*. When he added what became Grandborough Jcn. he says that he simply assumed that the 1868 Aylesbury and Buckinghamshire Railway had been bought by the GCR rather than the Met and that some kind of dispute with the LNWR had led them to seek an act for a direct line to a terminus at Buckingham coming off the A&B at Grandborough Junction to avoid Verney Junction. He then added the somewhat improbably long branchline going east to Leighton Buzzard (Linslade).

 

The arrangement of local lines that accompanied Peter Denny's Buckingham in Restrospect article in the in the 12/91-1/92 edition of Modellers' Backtrack  reverted to keeping the the line from Aylesbury to Verney junction  as joint GC & Met but GC only from there to Buckingham Central and on that plan the the Duke of Buckingham's 1883 proposal for a line to Oxford from Quainton Road via Brill exists. That proposal always intrigued me because the planned site for the Oxford terminus, the back garden of 12 High Street, St Clement's, was very close to where I went to school. 

The plan accompanying the track plan on p172 of the Wild Swan book published two years later shows a more direct route from Grandborough Jcn. to Oxford crossing the GC main line just north of Quainton Road and joining the GWR's Princes Risborough-Oxford line somewhere between Thame and Cowley but the track plan is dated 1985.

If Tony has the final timetables for Buckingham, perhaps he can reveal whether there were direct trains from Buckingham Central to Oxford (St.Clements or GWR)     

 

*I had a great time doing a similar exercise with the supposed locations of the late Denis Allenden's once well known 1:43 scale Sainte Collinne-les-Champs between the real towns of Amboise and and Chateau Renault "In Michelin 64 , a land of light wine and silver streams where the complaining willows lean low"  (In 1909 the first Michelin maps of France were still a year in the future and the classic numbering several years after that but I know what he means) He also offered a local map of his north-east corner of Indre-et-Loire but changed the local topography rather more than Peter Denny ever did, positioned his fictional town somewhat to the west of the village of Villedomer, rerouted the river Brienne and therefore  a couple of real main lines and added the rather improbable Tres Grande Ceinture pushing out tentacles, perhaps equivalent to the Met but to 130 miles from Paris? 

Allenden's layout was mainly a setting for showing off his models on a 10ft x 5ft baseboard based on a medium sized  MPD in front of a very attractive street scene with several other scenes and this scenic section fed from four 18ft long sidings, one low level SG and one high level mixed gauge (metre and SG) at either side of the layout making a U shape long enough to give his models a reasonable run through the scene but not set up for realistic operation.

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I’ve always been a great fan of Dennis Allenden and his work. Sainte Colline was, as you say, not anywhere special. There was an exquisite fleet of model locos, and very little supporting cast in the way of trains, just some Ouest coaches which could form a set, and a few wagons. Some nice buildings dotted about, but no station. It all looked very good, but not really a layout as such?

Anyhow, back to Buckingham. I’m with you, David, in thinking that Denny wasn’t too bothered with the full rhyme and reason in the physical placing of his layout. It set me of thinking about how the old English county towns were served by railways, and really Buckingham was about the worst served of any. I’ve never been there, but the bits you’ve showed us, Kevin, make it seem quite a small, quiet place. Was this due to lack of decent railway connections, and Aylesbury was substituted?

Keep up with the good work, Kevin, biking and taking pictures, there’s some lovely inspiration in the buildings and potential backscenes you’re coming up with, I feel a “pop up” coming on, though GCR?  I was sorry to hear how Peter Denny was bounced into choosing the GCR because his GWR models were attracting too much criticism from the “experts”, these days the amount and availability of information is so much better, but I’d like to feel that certainly everyone on this web is most friendly and helpful.

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Of course, you are all right to say I’m taking this far too seriously, but it gives me something to think about when pedalling!

 

Today, I wanted to do hills and woods, so this is as near as I got to Linslade ...... technically in Old Linslade, because the church, all that is left of ‘Old’ is just nearby, but the church is out in the country, a good mile and a half from what is now known as Linslade, confusingly.

 

Nice Railway narrow boat, within sight of the WCML.

 

 

 

 

 

88B94F9F-0C04-4998-9FBC-22D30021CC73.jpeg

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