Overview[edit | edit source]
Calvert was a railway station at Calvert, in rural central Buckinghamshire on the former Great Central Main Line between Manchester Piccadilly and London Marylebone. The station was opened in 1899 and closed in 1964. The line through it remains open for freight, including waste to a landfill site.
Calvert railway station[edit | edit source]
Calvert was the last station on the Great Central's London Extension before it reached the Metropolitan's station at Quainton Road 4.5 miles (7.2 km) away. The station and line between Brackley and Quainton Junction were constructed by Walter Scott and Company of Newcastle upon Tyne. Although the station was named Calvert, no such place existed at the time and the name was that of the local landowner, Sir Harry Verney, who had been born a Calvert but changed his name upon succeeding to the Verney Baronetcy.
At the time, Calvert was a very rural settlement with the few houses making up the village being situated close to the station and nearby brickworks which was the largest employer in the area. In true Great Central style, the station had a single island platform located below a road overbridge from the centre of which a staircase led down to the platform; the centre piers of the bridge were left hollow to provide lamp rooms. The design was chosen as it would allow the track to be quadrupled if ever required. About 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of Calvert was Grendon Underwood Junction where "Calvert Cabin" signal box controlled the line as it split into two: one line branching out towards Princes Risborough, the other towards Amersham.
A connecting spur, brought into use on 14 September 1940, linked Calvert with the Oxford to Bletchley line with the Great Central, allowing much of the freight which used the Verney Junction - Quainton Road section to be diverted over the Great Central. Calvert was to remain open a further 23 years before closing to passengers on 4 March 1963, the same day as nearby Quainton Road. Fast passenger trains continued to pass through the station until 1966 when the Great Central Main Line was closed.
The 1960s usage controversy[edit | edit source]
The rural line had been lightly used since the end of World War 1, except for some service as a diversionary rout in World War 2, which had become a major financial problem by the late 1950s. Cars had chewed in to rural and urban travel since the mid 1950s, especially in the rural aria south of Rugby and in Buckinghamshire as a whole.
The Manchester-London express was withdrawn on January 2nd, 1960, leading to only 3 semi-fast and a few slow trains calling at the station each day. It was deemed to be surplus to demand under the Beeching Axe. A extra local bus was proposed as the replacement for travel between Oxford, Aylesbury and connection ex-stations like Calvert and Claydon. Finance was a major issue due to tight government budgets for the transport sector.
The locals depended on it for travel, but it was too under-used to be fiscally viable and thus not worth the British Rail keeping it open. After some local protests and a few hostile local newspaper reports it was officially slated for closure. It was closed to passengers on the 4th of March, 1963, and to goods on the 4th of May, 1964.
A near by corporate siding was still used by Calvert Brickworks continued until it closed in 1991.
Calvert waste transfer station[edit | edit source]
A single track of the former Great Central alignment through Quainton Road to Calvert remains open as far as the disused Varsity Line for occasional freight and DMU maintenance workings. The line is being kept open as it also serves the waste transfer station at Calvert Landfill Site operated by the Waste Recycling Group for the Department of the Environment. Five container trains each day use the site: four from Brentford (known as the "Calvert Binliner", and one from Bath and Bristol (known as the "Avon Binliner"). The containers, each of which contains 14 tons of waste, are unloaded at the transfer station onto lorries awaiting alongside which then transport the waste to the landfill site. The site, dating from 1977 and now one of the largest in the country, stretches to 106 hectares and partly reuses the clay pits dug out by Calvert Brickworks which closed in 1991.
Planned re-opening[edit | edit source]
The re-opening of Calvert station has been mooted by Buckinghamshire County Council who are partners in the East West Rail Consortium which is seeking to re-connect Oxford, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury by reinstating passenger services on disused or freight-only routes, including the Varsity Line and part of the Great Central. This moved closer with the opening of Aylesbury Vale Parkway railway station on the London to Aylesbury Line in 2009. In a separate move Calvert is on the alignment of the proposed High Speed 2 Rail Link announced on 11 March 2010 by Lord Adonis on behalf of the DfT. The line would provisionally pass through the site of the disused station. HS2 will build a mantinance depot and stock yard near by.
Also see[edit | edit source]
- Dorton Halt Railway Station
- Haddenham (Bucks)\ Haddenham and Thame Parkway railway stations
- Notable UK stations 1945 to 1990