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Newport Pagnell to Olney Railway

Planned route of railway

In 1865 Parliament granted powers to extend the Wolverton to Newport Pagnell Railway (then under construction) to Olney, passing through Sherington. The proposed route ran from the station at Newport Pagnell across Bury Field, then to the west of Lathbury, crossing the river at the point where there is now a private farm bridge, across the Sherington fields to the west of End Farm and northwards to a terminus north of the Weston Underwood road at Olney. The estimated cost was £72,000 and the line was to be built within five years. Construction of the single track line started, including a bridge over Wolverton Road in Newport Pagnell (where the Police Station is now situated) but was halted due to financial difficulties. In 1870 a three year time extension was granted, but the problems continued and the project was abandoned completely in 1875. The bridge in Newport Pagnell was demolished, but other traces of the route remain.

Newport Pagnell had been connected to the Grand Union canal at Great Linford since 1817 and had prospered as a result. But the opening of the new London to Birmingham railway caused a significant decline in canal traffic and therefore a rail link was proposed instead. The Wolverton to Newport Pagnell Railway was given the go-ahead in 1863, and the Newport canal was closed the following year, part of its route being used for the railway line, with the station replacing the wharf. The line opened for goods in 1866 and for passengers in 1867.

The line was used by locals who were employed in the Wolverton Railway Works. The 1901 Census lists many Sherington residents who were railway employees.

The Newport Pagnell branch line continued until 1964 when the last passenger train ran and until 1967 for the last goods. It was one of the victims of the Beeching cuts.

North of Sherington, another extension had been approved in 1866 from Olney through to Wellingborough where it would have joined the Northampton to Peterborough railway. At Olney, links to the Bedford and Northampton Railway were also planned. All these plans were finally abandoned in 1875 due to Company's continuing financial problems, which resulted in it being taken over by the LNWR. Olney got a rail link in 1872, but via the Bedford and Northampton Railway, not to Newport Pagnell.

Newport Pagnell and Olney Tramway

A tramway was also proposed to run from Newport Pagnell to Olney, through Sherington. Construction of that also started, but it too ran into financial problems and was never completed.

On 19 January 1887 the Highway Surveyor called a meeting to discuss the plans at the National School in Newport Pagnell. The tramway was planned to run from Wolverton Road in Newport Pagnell to the Ouse Bridge in Olney and then to the Queens Hotel. A new bridge was proposed north of Sherington Bridge to avoid the need to strengthen the current bridge. On 2nd February 1888, the promoters announced that work would commence the following week. Work was carried at the north end at Olney, as well as in Newport Pagnell. Work stopped in 1890.


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Latest Revision: 1 January 2010