Brill Tramway | metropolitan railway takeover

Metropolitan Railway takeover

Map of a long railway line, ending at one end in a fork to two termini, and at the other end in a loop with a number of closely packed stations.
The Metropolitan Railway in 1903 following absorption of the A&BR and O&AT. The map is skewed about 45° from north; the MR's Buckinghamshire line ran northwest from the Inner Circle (the present day Circle line) in London (bottom). At the northwest (top) end, the MR forks at Quainton Road towards Brill (left) and Verney Junction (right).

The Metropolitan and the Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad Company were cooperating closely by 1899. Although the line had been upgraded in preparation for the Oxford extension and had been authorised as a railway in 1894, construction on the extension had yet to begin.[118] On 27 November John Bell, Watkin's successor as Chairman of the MR, leased the line from the O&AT for £600 (about £62,000 in 2019) a year with an option to buy the line.[13][116] From 1 December 1899, the MR took over all operations.[116] Jones stayed as Manager.[116] The O&AT's decrepit passenger coach, a relic of Wotton Tramway days, was removed from its wheels and used as a platelayer's hut at Brill station.[119] An elderly Brown, Marshalls and Co passenger coach replaced it, and a section of each platform was raised to accommodate the higher doors of this coach using earth and old railway sleepers.[120]

On 28 March 1902 the 4th Earl Temple died aged 55, succeeded by Algernon William Stephen Temple-Gore-Langton, 5th Earl Temple of Stowe. The Oxford & Aylesbury Tramroad Company, which by now did nothing except collect £600 annual rent from the MR, pay the Winwood Charity Trust rent for their land near Quainton Road crossed by the rails,[note 14] and pay Earl Temple an annual dividend of £400, remained independent under the control of the 4th Earl's trustees.[121]

Rebuilding and re-equipping by the Metropolitan Railway

The MR sold all but one of the dilapidated goods wagons to the Llanelly and Mynydd Mawr Railway, replacing them with five eight-wheeled carriages built in 1865–66.[116] The MR considered the Manning Wardle locomotives unreliable and from early 1903 they were replaced by a pair of Metropolitan Railway D Class engines,[116] although they were not sold until 1911.[119] The heavy D Class locomotives damaged the track, and in 1910 the track between Quainton Road and Brill was relaid to MR standards,[121] using track removed from the inner London MR route but considered adequate for a rural branch line.[120] Following this upgrading, the speed limit was increased to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h).[122]

The Kingswood branch was again not upgraded,[note 15] and still retained its 1871 track.[109][121] It was abandoned at the end of 1915, and the track removed in 1920.[121] In 1911 Brill Brick and Tile Works closed, and the siding to the brickworks was removed, with the exception of the rails on the level crossing which in 1984 were still in place, albeit tarmacked over.[100] On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Brill became a centre for training cadets, who were housed in Wotton House and ferried in trains of five passenger coaches.[122]

Purple steam locomotive
MR No. 23, one of the two A Class locomotives in use on the Brill branch until its closure.

The Metropolitan Railway was unhappy with the performance and safety of the D Class locomotives and sold them between 1916 and 1922. With much of their route close to London now electrified the MR had surplus steam locomotives, and two Metropolitan Railway A Class locomotives, numbers 23 (built 1866) and 41 (built 1869), were transferred to the route.[123] Built by Beyer, Peacock and Company from 1864, the A Class had been the first locomotives owned by the Metropolitan (in 1863, the first year of operation, the MR had used engines loaned from the GWR). Although the most advanced locomotives regularly to work the route, the A Class predated all other rolling stock on the Tramway.[121][note 16] The two locomotives operated for a week at a time.[124] Occasionally, the MR substituted other similar locomotives.[121]

Four services per day operated, taking around 40 minutes from one end to the other in 1900, falling to 32 minutes by 1931 after the upgrading of the route and the introduction of the A Class locomotives.[125]

On 1 February 1903 Jones retired and control was taken over directly by the Metropolitan Railway.[126][note 17] Jones died on 14 April 1909, surviving to see the railway network in the Aylesbury Vale reach its greatest extent.[26]

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العربية: ترام بريل
català: Brill Tramway