John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge

Wycombe Railway
The Wycombe Railway was incorporated by an Act of 26 July 1847 to build a 10 mile broad gauge line from Maidenhead on the Great Western Railway main line to High Wycombe. The company had an authorized capital of 100,000 with the power to borrow an additional 33,600, and was to be worked by the Great Western Railway for a fixed annual rent of 3,600. After numerous delays the line was opened throughout between Maidenhead and High Wycombe on 1 August 1854. The next section was a 14 mile extension from High Wycombe via Princes Risborough to Thame, which opened on 1 August 1862. This was followed by the 7 mile Aylesbury Branch from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury on 1 October 1863, and finally by the 13 mile Oxford extension from Thame to the Great Western Railway's Birmingham main line at Kennington Junction, just south of Oxford, which opened on 24 October 1864. The Wycombe Railway was absorbed by the Great Western Railway on 1 February 1867. The Aylesbury Branch was converted to narrow gauge on 13 to 23 October 1868, and was then isolated from the rest of the Great Western system until the conversion of the rest of the Wycombe Railway on 23 August to 1 September 1870. The Great Marlow Railway opened a 2 mile branch from Bourne End between High Wycombe and Maidenhead on 28 June 1873. This line was also absorbed by the Great Western Railway on 6 August 1897. With the creation of the Great Western & Great Central Railways Joint Committee's lines High Wycombe was for the first time directly connected with Paddington via Northolt Junction. The Great Western Railway (Additional Powers) Act of 1900 contained powers to widen the Princes Risborough to Oxford line, but for some reason this was never carried out. As part of this project, however, the High Wycombe to Princes Risborough line was transferred from the Great Western to the Joint Committee on 1 August 1899, and the Aylesbury Branch was transferred from the Great Western to the Joint Committee on 1 July 1907. Passenger service ceased between Princes Risborough and Kennington Junction and all traffic between Morris Cowley and Thame 7 January 1963. The line between High Wycombe and Bourne End was closed for goods traffic on 18 July 1966, and to passenger traffic on 4 May 1970, with all trains running from Maidenhead to Marlow. The Thames to Princes Risborough section, which had been kept open to serve an oil depot, closed in 1991, leaving only the Kennington Junction to Morris Cowley section open to goods traffic. This is unfortunate since a Marylebone to Oxford via Princes Risborough line would be very useful to Chiltern Railways in the twenty-first century. The remainder of the Wycombe Railway remains open. Since 1987 Thame has been served by Haddenham & Thame Parkway station, 2 miles from Thame on the Princes Risborough to Bicester line. There were very fine Brunel-style train sheds at High Wycombe and Thame. Thame station was unfortunately demolished, but the High Wycombe one has become a Grade II listed building and is currently undergoing restoration. Plans and elevations of this station can be found on the Broad Gauge Society website.
Map of the Wycombe Railway. To enlarge click here
Postcard view of Loudwater station on the Maidenhead to High Wycombe line in around 1910
Queen Victoria at High Wycombe station during a visit to Hughendon House, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's country residence
Situated on Castle Hill, near where the Wycombe Railway passes under the Great West Road, this station opened in 1854 as Maidenhead (Wycombe Railway). It was renamed Maidenhead (Boyne Hill) in 1870 and closed in 1871. This postcard of around 1905 seems to be based on a heavily retouched view of around 1870, when the line was still broad gauge
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