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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 18 - December 1973

The Wotton Tramway: Rise and Fall Part 5 - The First Ten Years to Brill

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K Jones Collection - Wotton at Quainton Road about 1880

The new neighbour of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos at Wotton was Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild who, in the 1870's, became interested in the operation of the Wotton Tramway because it was bringing to Waddesdon the building materials for his great Manor house on Lodge Hill. The active participation of the Duke in the promotion and in the management of railways has already been referred to in this series but it is apposite to remind ourselves of the fact that he was the Chairman of the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway and that he had Sir Harry Verney of Claydon House, Winslow, Bucks, as his Deputy. The A & BR had opened to traffic on 23rd September, 1868 through Quainton Road and the early picture reproduced in this issue shows the original station on this railway.

The arrangement of the rail connections between the Tramway and the A & BR is shown on an Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map of the station as it was in 1879 and this indicates that the only physical link in the first ten years of the life of the branch was a turntable located under the milk van behind the engine in the picture overleaf.

The most fascinating feature in the picture is, of course, the engine itself and we are grateful for permission to reproduce it given by Ken Jones who has the original in his collection. The existence of two additional locomotives on the Tramway in the 'seventies has seemed unlikely and earlier histories of the Brill branch have often made no reference to them, but they are fact and not fiction as illustrated.

The engine in the picture is an inside cylinder 0-4-0T which was supplied new to the Wotton Tramway in 1877 from W G Bagnall Ltd, Stafford, maker's No. 120 and was called Wotton. The first engine was called Buckingham and this was a 0-4-0ST built to the order of Chaplin and Horne, the Duke's agents, and this arrived in December, 1876. It was recorded as Bagnall's maker's No. 16 and is reputed as having first been South Wales before coming to the Tramway. Mr E J S Gadsden refers to these two engines in his book 'Metropolitan Steam' and he adds the observation that it is unlikely that either of them were actually built at Bagnall's works as they did not appear to have had facilities for standard gauge construction at that time. Mr W K Williams, Hon Records Officer of the Industrial Railway Society has added the additional information that Buckingham had cylinders 7½" diameter and 11" stroke, and that Chaplin and Horne hired the engine to the Tramroad. In the case of Wotton the cylinders were 8" diameter and 12" stroke. In February, 1964, in the 'Railway World', Mr R G Baker of Newcastle, Staffs, wrote a letter regarding the Bagnall locomotives and gives Wotton's wheel diameter as 2' 6", wheelbase as 6' and weight as 10 tons 15 cwt. He also made the point most emphatically that these engines were not built by W G Bagnall, though they were painted and finished off at Stafford. Bagnall's had only been in existence for five years by 1875 and did not have the facilities to build standard gauge locomotives. They used to hand-build narrow gauge locomotives one at a time. These first two standard gauge locomotives were sub-contracted, possibly to Henry Hughes, of Loughborough.

The fate or disposal details of these two mystery engines has not been solved. They are very similar to a number of tank engines handled by the legendry Mr Isaac Watt Boulton but, for the present this must end the story of the Bagnall's.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1973 and so does not reflect events in the 40+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

The Wotton Tramway: Rise and Fall - Part 5 - The First Ten Years to Brill - Quainton News No. 18 - December 1973

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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