[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: December 1868
Location: On the north side of an un-named minor road
Company on opening: Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.7.1936
Date closed completely: 6.7.1936
Company on closing: Metropolitan & Great Central Joint
Present state:

Up platform survives as one side of a silage bay

County: Buckinghamshire
OS Grid Ref: SP745243
Date of visit: May 1968, December 1968 & July 1974

Notes: The original Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway station, which was situated to the north side of a level crossing, had a single short platform with no buildings. A small hut and cottage were provided for the gatekeeper who also served as the station's porter; a single-lever ground frame controlled access to a short siding opposite the platform but there was no signal box at this time.

When the Met took over the A&BR on 1 July 1891 the track was re-laid to main line standards and the station was entirely rebuilt with a longer platform. The line was doubled, and a down platform was built on the site of the former siding. A single-storey rectangular brick building with a pitched slate roof was provided on the up platform. This included the booking hall, booking office, waiting rooms and toilets. The toilets were at the south end of the building with a ventilator on the roof. There was a short canopy over the entrance door in the centre of the building and, on the platform side, a flat-roofed canopy with a deeply fretted valance ran the full length of the building. The original gate keeper's cottage was replaced with a new larger house with its own well.

The down platform was provided with a timber waiting shelter with a curved roof. Identical buildings, main building and waiting shelter, were provided at both Winslow Road and Quainton Road; those at Quainton Road are extant and fully restored. The two platforms were spanned by a lattice footbridge supported on brick towers which included two small stores. Similar footbridges can still be seen at Wendover and Amersham. A new goods siding was provided to the south of the level crossing on the down side; this comprised a long loop with a short siding at each end. The 1904 Railway Clearing House Handbook lists the station as handling only general goods and parcels, but in later years there was considerable freight traffic especially cattle which were loaded from a dock adjacent to the north siding. Cattle pens were built on the dock. Access to the yard was controlled by a signal box opposite the cattle dock on the up side of the line.

The station was originally called Grandborough Road as was the village it served but this was changed to Granborough Road on 6 October 1920. The village name also changed.

Granborough Road saw little passenger traffic, which may be attributed to its rural location; it served the villages of Grandborough to the east and Botolph Claydon to the west. It closed to both passenger and goods traffic from 6 July 1936.

In recent years Granborough Road station found fame when it was mentioned in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. The villain of the piece, Silva has escaped from MI6's underground reserve headquarters into subterranean London. This is demonstrated by a CGI map of 'subterranean London', extracted from Silva’s laptop by Bond’s realisation that the decryption key is 'Granborough Road', a closed Underground station. Bond really knows his stuff as he knew Granborough Road was on the Metropolitan Railway’s long extension into rural Buckinghamshire, and near Verney Junction in particular; it closed in 1936. There was even a piece of incidental music called 'Granborough Road'.

The Duke of Buckingham's Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway Company (A & BR) was incorporated on 6 August 1860 and the 12¾ mile line opened on 23 September 1868 connecting Aylesbury to a new station at Verney Junction where it joined the Buckinghamshire Railway's Oxford to Bletchley line. The new line served intermediate stations at Waddesdon Manor, Quainton Road, Grandborough (renamed Granborough Road on 6 October 1920), and Winslow Road. The A&BR was never extended to Buckingham. The line was single-track and laid with lightweight flange-bolted flat-bottom rail. It was worked from the start by the Great Western Railway, which provided a service of three trains each way daily.

At the beginning lukewarm support had been given by the LNWR, which worked the Bletchley to Oxford route, but by the time the line had been built the relationship between the two companies had collapsed.

The Wycombe Railway built a single-track railway from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury, and when the GWR took over this company it ran shuttles from Princes Risborough through Aylesbury to Quainton Road and from Quainton Road to Verney Junction.

The A&BR had authority for a southern extension to Rickmansworth, connecting with the LNWR's Watford and Rickmansworth Railway. Following discussions between the Duke and the Metropolitan Railway chairman, Sir Edward Watkin, it was agreed that this line would be extended south to meet the Met at Harrow, and permission for this extension was granted in 1874.

Money was not found for this scheme, and the Met had to return to Parliament in 1880 and 1881 to obtain permission for a railway from Harrow to Aylesbury. Pinner was reached in 1885 and an hourly service from Rickmansworth and Northwood to Baker Street started on 1 September 1887. By then raising money was becoming very difficult although there was local support for a station at Chesham. Authorised in 1885, double track from Rickmansworth was laid for five miles, then single to Chesham. Services to Chesham calling at Chorley Wood and Chalfont Road started on 8 July 1889, and a temporary platform at Aylesbury opened on 1 September 1892 with trains calling at Amersham, Great Missenden, Wendover and Stoke Mandeville.

The A&BR, which had for some time been in a parlous financial state, was absorbed by the Metropolitan Railway with effect from 1 July 1891, extending their line from Aylesbury to Verney Junction via Quainton Road.

In 1894, the Met and GWR joint station at Aylesbury opened. Beyond Aylesbury to Verney Junction, the bridges were not strong enough for the Met's locomotives. The GWR refused to help, so locomotives were borrowed from the LNWR until two D class locomotives were bought. The line was upgraded, doubled and the stations rebuilt to main-line standards, allowing a through Baker Street to Verney Junction service from 1 January 1897 calling at a new station at Waddesdon Manor, a rebuilt Quainton Road, Granborough Road and Winslow Road.

The Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (renamed the Great Central in 1897) extended its main line south to meet the Metropolitan at Quainton Road and then ran alongside the latter to Finchley Road, where it diverged west to a separate terminus at Marylebone.

Around 1900 there was a train every two hours from Verney Junction, which stopped at all stations to Harrow, then Willesden Green and Baker Street. The timetable was arranged so that the fast train would leave Willesden Green just before a stopping service and arrived at Baker Street just behind the previous service.

Following a dispute between the two companies in 1902 administration of the line was transferred to a joint committee. From 2 April 1906 all Metropolitan services north of Harrow South Junction to Verney Junction were run by the Metropolitan and Great Central Joint Railway; this continued until 6 July 1936 when the London Passenger Transport Board, which had taken over the Metropolitan in 1933, withdrew local passenger services as an economy measure. Goods services were withdrawn at the same time.

During 1939 work started on singling the line south of Winslow Road, with the double track left on a section from a pair of stops near the station to Verney Junction. The work was completed by 28 January 1940 and the line south of Winslow Road became effectively a long siding. Train crews operated the level crossing gates, and all signalling was removed to make the route one section between two junctions. Freight traffic from the Oxford to Bletchley line was rerouted via a connecting spur near Calvert which was brought into use on 14 September 1940, thereby allowing trains to work south over the Great Central main line.

After the war the Metropolitan service to Quainton Road was reinstated from May 1943,but the line between Quainton Road and Verney Junction remained closed to passenger traffic and through services ceased entirely on 7 September 1947, and the route closed. The reinstated Met service to Quainton Road was short-lived and in May 1948 it was cut back to Aylesbury,

After closure, the track was eventually lifted,although the northern section of the route between Verney Junction and Winslow Road was retained until 1957 for the storage of condemned rolling stock, with the track finally being removed in 1961.

Quainton Road Station is now home to Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. Tickets from Michael Stewart, Bradshaw from Chris Hind. See also: Abandoned Tube Stations web site - Aylesbury to Verney Junction. A History of the Metropolitan Railway Volume 3: From Aylesbury north to Verney Junction and Brill - Bill Simpson - Lamplight Publications, Oxon 2005 - ISBN 1 899 246 13 4


See also:
Verney Junction, Winslow Road & Quainton Road

Road Station Gallery 1
1933 - 1936

Looking south from the Granborough Road footbridge towards Quainton Road in 1933. Note the ventilator on the roof of the station building; this is above the gents’ toilets. The goods yard is seen on the south side of the level crossing. See below maps for an enlargement of the goods yard.
Photo from John Mann collection

1878 1:2,500 OS map shows the original layout of the station as built with a single track. There is a short platform without buildings on the up side of the line. A short siding is seen opposite the platform. The gate keeper's house is between the platform and the road. The gate keeper also acted as station porter and was the only member of staff at this time. Note the original spelling of Grandborough.

1899 1:2,500 OS map shows Grandborough Road station after the line was doubled. The original platform has been rebuilt to nearly twice the length with a down platform opposite. The main building is seen on the up platform with a waiting shelter on the down. The original gate keeper's cottage has been replaced with a new larger stationmaster's house. The 'W' next to the house indicates a well. As the second track is built on the site of the goods siding a new siding has been laid to the south of the road; this is in the form of a loop with a siding at each end. A signal box has been provided at the north end on the up side.

Enlargement of the picture above shows the layout of the goods yard. A number of vans are seen on the loop. A cattle dock and pens are seen on the right. The 1904 Railway Clearing House Handbook listed the station as handling only general goods and parcels, so the dock is clearly a later addition when there was a regular despatch of livestock.
Photo from John Mann collection

Granborough Road station looking north towards Verney Junction from the level crossing in February 1934. The waiting room seen on the down platform is identical to that on the now restored Quainton Road station. The The building there now houses an exhibition on the Brill tramway.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

Granborough Road station entrance in February 1934. The wooden platform on the left was for milk churns arriving by horse and cart. Although the line crosses the road on the level note the slope up to the station entrance. The same is noted at Winslow Road.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

A 'pull-and-push' service heading for Verney Junction. At Winslow Road a separate stationmaster's house was built in the twentieth century; here the original gate keeper's cottage was replaced with a new house seen here. The building has now been demolished.
Photo from John Mann collection

Granborough Road station looking north towards Verney Junction from the level crossing c1936.

A southbound train is seen in the up platform at Granborough Road station c1936 hauled by F78307. S.D. Holden designed these small 2-4-2T locomotives in 1909 for light passenger services. They were never a great success, and only twelve F7s were built at Stratford works. The F7s were used for lightweight branch line work in East Anglia. Although they were never very popular, the F7s were capable of hard work when required. At least one account exists of an F7 pulling a ten-coach train into Liverpool Street after the original locomotive had failed. Withdrawals started in 1931, but the last two survived just into Nationalisation and were withdrawn in November 1948. 8307 was withdrawn on 31 July 1943. None of the class has survived into preservation.
Photo from John Mann collection

Click here for Granborough Road Station
Gallery 2 1960 - 2008




[Source: Nick Catford

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