Station Name: BRACKLEY

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.5.1850
Location: St. James Road now runs through the site of the station
Company on opening: Buckinghamshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.1.1961
Date closed completely: 2.12.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished - the site is lost under a new road and housing
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: SP585364
Date of visit: 31.5.1967, December 1968 & May 1980

Notes: Brackley was an attractive station with building of local yellow-grey stone. A| lot of traffic was taken by the Great Central when they opened their station on the north side of the town in 1898 offering a faster service to London. The station consisted of a single loop serving two platforms. The goods yard was quite small and included a cattle dock and a goods shed at right angles to the line requiring a turntable. There was also a water tank on a single column fed by a nearby stream. There was also a long siding serving the Hopkins and Norris Brewery.

Timetables always referred to the station as Brackley but after 1.7.1950 some tickets showed it as Brackley Town. After that date it was referred to as Brackley Town for goods only.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BANBURY - VERNEY JUNCTION BRANCH OF THE
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE RAILWAY
Until 1844 Buckinghamshire had been poorly served by railways with only Aylesbury connected to the London & Birmingham in the east. With the support of the L & B two separate companies were formed, the Buckingham and Brackley Junction Railway and the Oxford and Bletchley Junction Railway. In 1847 under the direction of the newly formed London & North Western Railway the two were merged into a unified board with the collective name of the Buckinghamshire Railway

The line was to run westward from Bletchley to Oxford, via Winslow and Bicester, with a junction near Claydon House (later Verney Junction) where another line turned north to Brackley via Buckingham, with a further extension to Banbury. The engineer employed to build the Buckinghamshire Railway was Robert Stephenson

Construction started on 20th April 1847 and on 1st May 1850 the Buckinghamshire Railway was opened for passenger traffic from Bletchley to Banbury. From the outset the line was worked by the LNWR who absorbed the Buckinghamshire Railway in 1879.

The major objective of the branch was the small market town of Buckingham. Until the railway came to the town transport had not been good which it was felt was stopping development of the town. A branch of the Grand Union canal reached Buckingham in 1801 but even after the opening of the canal and the railway little development occurred.

The busiest part of the line was the 5 1/2 mile section from Banbury Merton Street to Cockley Brake where there was a junction with the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway.

Passenger traffic over the whole line was comparatively light although the LNWR operated various specials and excursions over the years to encourage use. Passenger levels reached their peak just before WW1 after which they declined more or less continually as competition from the bus and growing car ownership began to increase. WW2 brought a short lived improvement but
with new BR management the line was under review. A threat to its future became imminent in 1952 when BR reduced services to three trains each way per day, having withdrawn Banbury - Towcester Trains (via the junction at Cockley Brake) the previous year.

In spite of this, the line survived and was selected for an experiment as part of the 1955 Railway Modernisation Plan using lightweight single unit diesel railcars. These railcars were introduced during the summer of 1956 but strangely they only ran from Banbury to Buckingham, where connection was made with the traditional steam push-pull service. New halts at Radclive and Water Stratford were opened between Fulwall & Westbury and Buckingham and a third on the edge of Buckingham was suggested but not built.

The new railcars attracted a reported increase in traffic of 400% with the service being well used on market days and Saturdays but the improvement was insufficient to save the service between Buckingham and Banbury which closed from 2nd January 1961. The remaining passenger facilities between Buckingham and Verney Junction lingered until 7th September 1964
using the diesel units transferred from the Banbury section. Freight facilities were withdrawn from Banbury on 6th June 1966 and from Buckingham from 3rd December 1966 with track lifting underway by February 1967.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

For further reading see The Banbury to Verney Junction Branch by Bill Simpson. Oxford Publishing Company 1978 ISBN 902888 87 0

To see the other stations on the Banbury - Verney Junction line click on the station name: Banbury Merton Street, Farthinghoe, Fullwell & Westbury, Water Stratford Halt, Radclive Halt, Buckingham, Padbury & Verney Junction


Brackley station looking north-west c.1900



Brackley station looking north-west c.1950s.

Looking south-east towards Brackley station in March 1961, two months after closure to passengers. At this time it was still open for goods traffic.
P
hoto by Ben Brooksbank

Brackley station looking north-west from the signal box. Although the station was closed to both passenger and goods traffic, the line to Banbury remained open for goods traffic until 6 June 1966.
P
hoto by John Evans

Brackley station forecourt in April 1966.
Photo by John Evans

Brackley station in July 1966 looking south-east. Although the line has only been closed for a few weeks it is already becoming very overgrown.
P
hoto by Ian Baker

Brackley Station in December 1968
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Brackley Station in May 1980
P
hoto by Nick Catford


Undated

Mid 1960's

1967

1968

1968

1980


Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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