A marvellously cold, rainy windswept day last Sunday marked the formal launch into service of yet a further steam locomotive rescued decades back from a Barry scrap dealer of immortal fame. Finding myself in Oxford with family and in proximity to the Aylesbury road from Bicester was sufficient reason to drag everyone out to visit the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.
My last visit well over 15 years ago was in glorious sunshine and before the transformation of a new building which became the Visitor Centre. This was formerly a Victorian railway terminus in Oxford which had been donated by the new owners of the site on which it stood (rather than being demolished a la Poulton Signal Box). The site is now an imposing modernistic edifice housing the Said Business School just opposite the existing Oxford railway station.
Now fully restored to much of its earlier state with two tracks and a centre platform - the Visitor Centre is the hub of quite an eclectic collection of rolling stock. This has far flung exhibits that extend to South Africa and a Glasgow built locomotive, Egypt with a 1950s early steam powered passenger unit, New York and a 1950s subway car. Combined with a BR TPO set, a LT Underground set from the 1950s (and an earlier slam door suburban set), BR coaches and diesel set (a la PWR), there is much to see.
Quainton Station (the original one) on which the Museum is located was also terminus of the Brill tramway, a localised branch line built with private benefactors to deliver milk and cattle to the main line link to London. Sadly there were no trams as such but rather lightweight steam engines.
Oxford's railway terminus as it would have looked over 160 years ago and now restored to its early structural appearance - resited at Quainton.
The impressive interior looking towards the frontage. Note the infant carriages.
And facing to the arrival platform with display of rolling stock (accessible).
A marvellous sight first day in steam carrying passengers.
Bring back a national railway system : In public not foreign ownership.
More to follow :