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 Brill Tramway

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Join date : 2010-10-10

PostSubject: Brill Tramway   Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:02 am

The Brill Tramway, also known as the Quainton Tramway, Wotton Tramway, Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad and Metropolitan Railway Brill Branch,[note 1] was a six-mile (10 km) rail line in the Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, England. It was privately built in 1871 by the 3rd Duke of Buckingham as a horse tram line to help transport goods between his lands around Wotton House and the national rail network. Lobbying from the nearby village of Brill led to its extension to Brill and conversion to passenger use in early 1872. Two locomotives were bought but the line had been built for horses and trains travelling at an average speed of 4 miles per hour (6.4 km/h).
In 1883, the Duke of Buckingham planned to upgrade the route to main line standards and extend the line to Oxford, creating the shortest route between Aylesbury and Oxford. Despite backing of the wealthy Ferdinand de Rothschild, investors were deterred by costly tunnelling. In 1888 a cheaper scheme was proposed in which the line would be built to a lower standard and avoid tunnelling. In anticipation, the line was named the Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad.
Although the existing line was upgraded in 1894, the extension to Oxford was never built. Instead, operation of the Brill Tramway was taken over by London's Metropolitan Railway and Brill became one of its two north-western termini. The line was rebuilt in 1910, and more advanced locomotives were introduced, allowing trains to run faster. The population of the area remained low, and the primary income remained goods to and from farms. Between 1899 and 1910 other lines were built in the area, providing more direct services to London and the north of England. The Brill Tramway went into financial decline.
In 1933 the Metropolitan Railway became the Metropolitan Line of London Transport. The Brill Tramway became part of the London Underground, despite being 40 miles (65 km) from London and not underground. London Transport aimed to concentrate on electrification and improvement of passenger services in London and saw little possibility that routes in Buckinghamshire could become viable passenger routes. In 1935 the Brill Tramway closed. The infrastructure was dismantled and sold. Little trace remains other than the former junction station at Quainton Road, now the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.

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