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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 26 - Winter 1975

Aveling and Porter 0-4-0T No. 807

Restoration of the Wotton Tramway Locomotive

qn_26_09.jpg (77,511 bytes)

Courtesy London Transport - The Wotton Tram Locomotive

In Quainton News No. 24 we featured the official photograph which accompanied a London Transport Press Office release on 19th January, 1957. The text is now given in full:

At a ceremony held today (19th January, 1957) in the Metropolitan Line Depot at Neasden, Mr A W Manser, Chief Mechanical Engineer (Rlys) London Transport Executive, accepted on behalf of the British Transport Commission one of the two original locomotives used on the Quainton Road - Brill branch line, for preservation in the Commission's collection of historic locomotives. The presentation was made by Mr G Alliez, the Chairman of the Industrial Locomotive Society, the present owners of the locomotive, in the presence of members of the Society and other guests. Among the latter were London Transport craftsmen who have recently carried out restoration work on the engine.

The locomotive (Messrs. Aveling and Porter's works No. 807) , was in service on the Brill Line (then known as the Wotton Tramway) from 1872 to 1894, together with its counterpart, No. 846. Both were supplied by Messrs Aveling and Porter of Rochester, No. 807 in January 1872 and No. 846 in the following June, at a cost of £400 each. This type of engine was first built by the company for tramway use in 1866, and was similar to the traction engines already successfully produced by them in 1862.

In 1894, when the line was taken over by the Oxford and Aylesbury Tramroad Company, the two engines were sold to the Nether Heyford Brickworks, near Weedon, Northants. The one which has now been restored was used as a shunting locomotive until 1940, when the brickyard was closed. The other failed to pass a boiler inspection early in its brickyard life and was cannibalised to provide spares for the surviving one.

For ten years No. 807 lay abandoned in the brickyard from which it was rescued in 1950 by the Industrial Locomotive Society. In the following year, London Transport agreed to hold it in safe custody at Neasden Depot until a final resting place was ready for it. In the meantime, by arrangement with the Society, London Transport carried out the work of restoring it, as far as practicable, to its original condition and livery.

Messrs Aveling-Barford Ltd., Grantham, successors to Aveling & Porter, the original manufacturers, were most helpful in providing drawings and information as well as kindly presenting the horse and Invicta scroll which adorn the smokebox door, and the makers' name-plate.


Its single cylinder, mounted horizontally on top of the boiler, is surrounded by a steam jacket. Motive power is transmitted from the transverse crankshaft by spur gearing to a countershaft carrying a chain sprocket at the other end. The final drive to the wheels is by a chain passed around the sprocket and a chain wheel mounted on each axle behind the driving wheels, which are thus coupled together. The countershaft bearings are located in curved slots in the supporting brackets, to give a means of adjusting the tension of the driving chain. A heavy flywheel is mounted on the crankshaft.

The boiler is fed by a pump worked by an eccentric on the crankshaft. A water tank is situated under each end coupled by a pipe.

Technical Details

Boiler Staffordshire plate
Firebox Lowmoor Iron
Boiler Tubes 5' 7" long x 2¾" diameter
Cylinder 7¾" x 10"
Flywheel 3' 6" diameter
Driving Wheels 3' diameter
Horse Power 6
Weight in working order 10 tons
Gear Details Crankshaft gear - 11 teeth
Countershaft gear - 38 teeth
Countershaft chain sprocket - 5 teeth
Driving wheel gear - 9 teeth


The original livery of the locomotive cannot be established with certainty, but it is thought to have varied little from the livery it now wears, viz:-

Boiler and Tender Mid Brunswick Green
Tender Red and black lines ⅛" wide and 2" from the top
Boiler Lagging Bands Black edged with ⅛" wide red bands
Buffer Beams Bright Red
Smoke Box and Chimney Black
Wheel Centres Mid Brunswick Green
Running Boards Top - Natural Wood
Sides - Black
Levers Black with burnished handles
Brass Burnished


The Wotton Tramway was a private single-track railway owned by the Duke of Buckingham. It was constructed to carry staff and goods between Quainton Road station (on the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway) and the Duke's estate at Wotton. The line was 6½ miles long and had intermediate stations at Waddesdon, Westcott, Wotton, Church Siding and Wood Siding. The running time, with stops, was 1½ hours.

Constructional work began on 8th September, 1870; the first section, from Quainton Road to Wotton, was brought into use on 1st April, 1871 , and the whole line completely to Brill by the summer of 1872. No contractors were employed on the construction of the line, except for a short time for track laying.

The railway, including sidings and two goods sheds, cost rather less than £1,400 a mile, exclusive of the value of the land. The working of the line was conducted at first by Messrs Chaplin and Horne, who estimated that annual working expenses amounted to £650, which included 10% interest on the two engines; earnings were between £1,350 and £1,400. Maintenance work was undertaken by the Duke of Buckingham.

No signalling system was used, as only one engine was in steam at a time, but some of the level crossings were originally protected by signals.

On the death of the Duke in 1894, the tramway passed, with the estate, to Earl Temple, and in that year the working of the line was taken over by the Oxford and Aylesbury Tramroad Company. This company reconstructed the tramway, replacing the original light rails laid on longitudinal sleepers by bat bottom rails spiked direct to transverse sleepers. On some sections bull headed rails and chairs were used. The rolling stock was also replaced at this time, and the two original locomotives sold to the brickworks.

On 1st December, 1899, the working of the line was taken over by the Metropolitan Railway, who relaid the track with bull headed rails and chairs in 1910. At first, Metropolitan Railway Sharp Stewart 2-4-0 tank engines were used; later Beyer Peacock 4-4-0T's were substituted, and these continued to work the traffic until the line was closed on 30th November, 1935.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1975 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.

Restoration of the Wotton Tramway Locomotive - Quainton News No. 26 - Winter 1975

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 04 November 2017