Station Name: FARTHINGHOE

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


Date opened: October 1851 (first appeared in timetable)
Location: Within a nature reserve on the west side of the A422 west of a council dump and pulveriser plant
Company on opening: Buckinghamshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.11.1952
Date closed completely: 2.12.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Demolished - no evidence remains
County: Northamptonshire
OS Grid Ref: SP522403
Date of visit: March 2006

Notes: Although the opening date of the station is not recorded, it was within the first year of the line opening. The station was of all timber construction apart from the substantial station house at the rear. There was a small goods yard with one siding but after the 1930's the station carried little goods traffic apart from coal which continued until final closure. During WW2 the RAF unloaded ammunition destined for Hinton-in-the-Hedges.

Passenger numbers were always poor due in part to the station being badly sited being over a mile from the village it served. Following the withdrawal of the Banbury - Towcester service in 1951, Farthinghoe was quick to follow and was the first station on the line to close on 3.11.1952; the goods service lingered for another eleven years.

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.

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, Brackley, Fullwell & Westbury, Water Stratford Halt, Radclive Halt, Buckingham, Padbury & Verney Junction

 

Farthinghoe Station in 1930



The site of Farthinghoe Station in March 2006
Photo by Tim Robb

Farthinghoe Station in 1961
Photo by John Smith

 


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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