The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre is a museum with some exhibits of outstanding interest, based at a station with a long and complex history. The station lies 1 km from the village of Quainton, 10 km north west of Aylesbury, and 71 km from London. The first station on the site was opened in 1868 by the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway. Trains were operated by the Great Western Railway, whose line to Aylesbury from Prince’s Risborough linked the town with the national system. In 1871 the Brill Tramway was built from Quainton Road station to serve the estate of the dukes of Buckingham at Wotton to the west. It was cheaply built, and trains were restricted to a maximum speed of 6 km p h, but for a long time there were prospects that it might be improved and extended to Oxford. These lines became part of London’s Metropolitan Railway which originated with the underground line from Faringdon to Paddington, opened in 1863. Sir Edward Watkin (1819-1901), chairman of the company, proposed from 1881 to extend the Metropolitan Railway to Aylesbury. In 1891 the Metropolitan absorbed the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway, began to operate its trains from March 1894, and opened its line from London to Aylesbury in July of that year. The present station buildings at Quainton Road were built in the 1890s by the Metropolitan which in 1899 leased the Brill Tramway. Meanwhile Watkin, as chairman of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway formulated plans to re-name the company the Great Central Railway, and to build a ‘London Extension’ from a junction north of Nottingham to Quainton Road, from where its trains used Metropolitan Railway tracks into London, although the company built its own terminus at Marylebone. The London Extension opened in 1899. The Brill Tramway closed in 1935, and the Aylesbury & Buckingham line in the following year, leaving Quainton Road as a wayside station on the route from Marylebone to the north. Passenger trains ceased to call in 1963 and in 1966 its freight facilities were closed and passenger services on the main line were withdrawn. The Quainton Road Society was formed in 1969 and now operates the museum at the station as the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. It is still linked to the national network. Trains of household waste pass through en route to a tip in former brick clay quarries a short distance north, and on special occasions passenger trains from Aylesbury serve the station.
The outstanding new feature of the site is the former London & North Western Railway station from Rewley Road, Oxford, built in 1851 utilising some of the constructional techniques employed in the Crystal Palace. It was moved to Quainton Road in 2002 and accommodates a locomotive and some vintage carriages, as well as visitor facilities. The locomotive collection includes a Metropolitan Railway 0-4-4T tank engine, one of a class of 7 built in 1896-1901, No 30585 of 1874, one of 85 well tank 2-4-0T locomotives originally built for suburban services on the London & South Western Railway and used for many years on a branch line in Cornwall, a gigantic 4-8-4 passenger locomotive of 1.08 m gauge, built in 1953 by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow for South African Railways and re-patriated in 1991. There are also three main line locomotives from the Great Western Railway, an early fireless locomotive of 1916, and industrial shunting engines from various makers. A large collection of historic coaches and wagons is conserved in a substantial museum building. Outstanding amongst the passenger vehicles are a 12-wheel sleeping car and a dining car built in the opening years of the 20th century by the London & North Western Railway at Wolverton in north Buckinghamshire, and a 3-car steam multiple unit powered by two 6-cylinder engines with steam supplied by an oil-fired boiler, built for Egyptian State Railways in 1951 by the Metro-Cammel and Sentinel companies in England. The unit was re-patriated in 1985.