National Rail
Station forecourt
General information
LocationAylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Coordinates51°48′50″N 0°48′54″W / 51.813903°N 0.815102°W / 51.813903; -0.815102
Grid referenceSP817134
Managed byChiltern Railways
Other information
Station codeAYS
ClassificationDfT category D
Opened1 October 1863
Original companyWycombe Railway
2018/19Increase 1.235 million
2019/20Decrease 1.208 million
2020/21Decrease 0.298 million
2021/22Increase 0.743 million
2022/23Increase 0.874 million
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
View of the platforms in 1991

Aylesbury railway station is a railway station in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, on the London–Aylesbury line from London Marylebone via Amersham. It is 38 miles (61 km) from Aylesbury to Marylebone. A branch line from Princes Risborough on the Chiltern Main Line terminates at the station. It was the terminus for London Underground's Metropolitan line until the service was cut back to Amersham in 1961. The station was also known as Aylesbury Town under the management of British Railways from c. 1948 until the 1960s.[1]


The town of Aylesbury had been served by the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR) since 1839 when the Aylesbury Railway was opened; this was a branch from the L&BR's main line at Cheddington to Aylesbury High Street.[2]

The first station on the present site was opened in 1863 by the Wycombe Railway, which in 1867 was taken over by the Great Western Railway. In 1868 the Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway (later part of the Metropolitan Railway) reached Aylesbury.

When opened, the line to Aylesbury from Princes Risborough was broad gauge. To avoid mixed gauge track when the standard gauge Aylesbury and Buckingham arrived at the station in 1868, the section to Princes Risborough was converted to standard gauge, and therefore until the rest of the Wycombe Railway was converted in 1870 there was no access to the rest of the GWR system. The GWR provided motive power and trains to both the Wycombe Railway and the A&B, and ran a shuttle service from Princes Risborough to Verney Junction.

A broad gauge single-road engine shed was provided from the station's opening in 1863; the shed was doubled in length within a year or two, and in 1870 became a two-road shed with a lean-to added to the east side of the original shed. By 1892, with the arrival of the Metropolitan Railway, the shed was converted to a north-light two-road shed using the west wall of the original broad gauge shed and the east wall of the 1870 extension.

The Metropolitan Railway opened from Chalfont Road in 1892 to a separate station named Aylesbury (Brook Street) adjacent to the GWR station. It closed in 1894 when services were diverted to the GW station.[1] The Great Central Railway reached Aylesbury in 1899 from Annesley Junction just north of Nottingham on its London extension line to London Marylebone.

Aylesbury Railway Disaster of 1904

A 1911 Railway Clearing House map of railways in and around Aylesbury

Because the station had been a terminus for the Metropolitan Railway the original junction layout on the route to London Marylebone included a sharp curve. This became inconvenient once some Great Central trains began to run non-stop through Aylesbury from 1899 onwards. Rather than change the junction layout to suit faster trains, a 15 mph (24 km/h) speed restriction was applied to the curve.

On 23 December 1904 at about 3:38 a.m. this curve was the site of the Aylesbury Railway Disaster. The 2:45 a.m. Great Central express newspaper train from London Marylebone consisting of a locomotive, tender, and ten vehicles—three coaches, an assortment of six fish, meat and parcel vans, and a brake van—failed to slow for the curve, and was completely derailed. The locomotive, tender, and the first three or four vehicles mounted the "down" platform of the station, two vehicles mounted the "up" platform, and the rest of the train was smashed to pieces and scattered over a distance of 50 yards (46 m) between the two platforms. The driver of the train, Joseph Barnshaw was seriously injured and died the next day. The fireman George Masters was killed as also were London-based driver David Summers and fireman Josiah Stanton who were travelling as passengers in the first coach on their way to Gorton, Manchester.

There was heavy fog at the time of the accident, and at the subsequent Board of Trade inquiry there was some doubt as to how well driver Barnshaw knew the route.[3] What the inquiry did not touch on was that there had been a history of fast running of these newspaper trains, which had become an important traffic for the Great Central Railway. This dated back to the Boer War which had ended only two years earlier. The Manchester Guardian's stance on the Boer War had resulted in significant drops in circulation. London newspapers, led by the Daily Mail, saw a significant business opportunity in the Manchester area, and sought to get their morning newspapers to Manchester in time to win a share of this market. These trains recorded fast times for the era, including an authenticated timing of 220 minutes for the 206 miles (332 km) journey including stops.[4]

Afterwards in 1908 the station was reconstructed and tracks at the curve were realigned.

Station buildings

The original station had one platform with a brick-built station building a canopy projected from the building over the platform supported on cast iron pillars. The cost of the station building was shared between the Wycombe Railway and the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway; the original plans are in Aylesbury local records office.

The current station buildings date from 1926, when the station was extensively rebuilt again—this time by the London and North Eastern Railway. Until nationalisation in 1948, Aylesbury station was operated by a joint committee whose constituents were also joint committees: the GWR & GCR Joint and the Metropolitan and GCR Joint; although the LNER had taken on the role of the former Great Central Railway in all three joint committees, these committees were not renamed.

Motive Power Depot

The Wycombe Railway opened a single-road engine shed fifty feet in length to the west of the station in 1863. This was extended to the rear shortly after and enlarged to a two-road shed by the Great Western Railway in 1871, around 1893 the saw tooth roof was added on the original walls; it was closed on 16 June 1962 and was demolished in 1967.[5]

A wooden water tank was positioned outside the locomotive shed from the station's opening, being replaced by a standard GWR water tank with decorative supports and coaling stage underneath in 1899; this itself was replaced by a Braithwaite tank in the mid-1950s.

The first mention of a locomotive at Aylesbury was of the broad-gauge loco Giraffe in 1863, a member of the Sun class.

1930s to the present day

Platform 3 with a train about to depart for Marylebone
Platforms 3 and 2, looking south from the bridge

Until 1966 Aylesbury was an intermediate station on the former Great Central Main Line between London Marylebone and Sheffield Victoria and on to Manchester London Road via the Woodhead Tunnel. Aylesbury was also on the Metropolitan Railway (later Metropolitan line) and through trains from Baker Street to Verney Junction operated until 1936. From 1948 to 1961 Aylesbury was the terminus of the Met's main line, on which trains had to change between electric and steam locomotives at Rickmansworth.[note 1] Following electrification from Rickmansworth to Amersham, Aylesbury was no longer served by London Underground trains. In 1966 British Railways closed the Great Central Main Line north of Aylesbury. Aylesbury was thus left with commuter services to London only. From the 1960s until the 1980s, passenger trains at Aylesbury were almost exclusively operated by British Rail Class 115 diesel multiple units.

By the 1980s the lines serving Aylesbury were in a poor state. Aylesbury station itself was run down and needed refurbishment. Network SouthEast decided to refurbish the lines out of Marylebone, and Aylesbury received a new waiting room, new toilets and better lighting. Platform 4 was closed and the car park was extended. A new driver's staff room was established on platform 3 and a new heavy maintenance depot was built just north of the station. Aylesbury became the headquarters of the operational side of the Chiltern Line. (For more information, see: Chiltern Line Modernisation)

On 14 December 2008 2 miles (3 km) of the line north of Aylesbury was reopened for passenger service, with regular passenger services running north of the station for the first time since 1966. This serves the new Aylesbury Vale Parkway station, which is situated on the northwestern outskirts of Aylesbury and is operated by Chiltern Railways.

Present layout

Aylesbury station is laid out for through traffic, with hourly trains to/from Aylesbury Vale Parkway and waste freight trains to the landfill site at Calvert heading north. On selected days, usually bank holidays, special passenger services run to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road. In addition there is a major repair and maintenance depot just north of the station, and several sidings.

There are three platforms. Platform 3 gives access to Amersham and London Marylebone only, whilst platform 1 gives access to Princes Risborough and London Marylebone via High Wycombe only. Platform 2 can serve both routes. There was a bay platform (platform 4) that served as the terminus for Metropolitan trains and several freight sidings but the car park now lies on the trackbed and bike racks occupy the platform. The goods depot was to the west of the station and was demolished in the 1960s. Modern apartments now occupy the site.

The station is managed by Chiltern Railways, which has recently had automatic ticket gates installed. There are two FastTicket self-service ticket machines accepting cash and cards, a permit to travel machine and two ticket windows. There is a taxi rank outside the station. From 21 January 2008 the taxi rank was moved to the car park for 52 weeks as a result of major engineering work on the new Southcourt Bridge and the new Station Boulevard.

Seven first generation DMUs built in the late 1950s are based at Aylesbury.[citation needed] These units are jointly used by Chiltern Railways and Network Rail for route learning and Sandite duties. One unit was used solely for passenger services until 2017 to and from Princes Risborough.

All three station platforms have step-free access, with access to platforms 1 and 2 via a pair of lifts.

Connection to Winslow, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge

Main article: East West Rail

In 2004, a 'regional planning guidance' report by consultants for Buckinghamshire County Council concerning the development of Aylesbury Vale recommended further expansion of rail services to Bletchley and Bedford.[6] As part of the 'East West Rail' plan to reinstate the Oxford-Cambridge route, these services would be extended from the current freight-only line north of Aylesbury Vale Parkway to the new line via Claydon LNE Junction and terminate at Milton Keynes Central or Bedford. The Department for Transport endorsed the scheme in December 2017, with opening planned for 2024.[7][8] However, in November 2020 it was reported that the Aylesbury leg may be dropped from the first phase.[9]

In March 2021, the East West Rail Company announced that its opening plans for East West Rail have changed, notably deferring indefinitely a connection to Aylesbury.[10]


All services at Aylesbury are operated by Chiltern Railways. Most services operate to London Marylebone although services can take one of two routes running via either Amersham on the London-Aylesbury line or via the Aylesbury–Princes Risborough line, High Wycombe and the Chiltern Main Line.

The current off-peak service is:[11][12]

During peak hours additional shuttle services run to and from Princes Risborough and there are additional services to/from London via the London-Aylesbury line that do not call at some of the stations nearer London (those shared with the Metropolitan line).

On Sundays, the services on the London-Aylesbury line are reduced to 1 train per hour.

During Bank Holidays in Spring and Summer there is a frequent shuttle service to Quainton Road.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Chiltern Railways
TerminusChiltern Railways
Future services
Aylesbury Vale Parkway   East West Rail
Aylesbury-Milton Keynes Central
Disused railways
Line and station closed
  Great Central Railway
London Extension
  Stoke Mandeville
Line and station open
Preceding station London Underground Following station
Terminus   Metropolitan Railway
  Stoke Mandeville
Quainton Road   Metropolitan Railway
Waddesdon   Metropolitan Railway
Terminus Metropolitan line
Stoke Mandeville
Quainton Road
Metropolitan line
Terminus Metropolitan line

Onward connections

Aylesbury bus station is a two-minute walk from the station. Buses, the majority of which are operated by Arriva Herts & Essex, depart to several destinations across Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, including Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Tring, Watford, Luton and Leighton Buzzard. Bus departure times are displayed on screens outside the rail station's departure lounge as well as at the bus station itself.

The Aylesbury–Princes Risborough line offers connections to High Wycombe, Bicester, Banbury and Birmingham. This route was greatly improved by "Project Evergreen" - the re-dualing and speeding-up of Marylebone - Risborough - Birmingham track and services. Since 2015 Risborough has also had access to direct Oxford trains via a new junction at Bicester Village.

See also


  1. ^ Initially at least, the Metropolitan Railway labelled its line from Bishop's Road Paddington to Farringdon as the 'main line' and the line through St John's Wood and Swiss Cottage northwards as the 'branch'. Although the former lengthened to form the Hammersmith and City, running from Hammersmith to Barking, the latter had the characteristics of a main line railway in the twentieth century, with locomotive-hauled trains of large bogie carriages, including Pullman cars for a time, running to Chesham, Aylesbury and Verney Junction.


  1. ^ a b Borley, H.V. Chronology of London Railways.[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Reed, M.C. (1996). The London & North Western Railway. Penryn: Atlantic Transport Publishers. p. 7. ISBN 0-906899-66-4.
  3. ^ Yorke, Lt. Col. H.A. (3 April 1905). Metropolitan and Great Western Joint Railway (PDF). London: Board of Trade. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  4. ^ Marsden, Richard. "The Pollitt Class D6 (GCR Class 11A) 4-4-0 Locomotives". The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Encyclopaedia.
  5. ^ Griffiths, Roger; Smith, Paul (1999). The directory of British engine sheds: 1. Oxford Publishing Co. p. 118. ISBN 0-86093-542-6.
  6. ^ "AYLESBURY VALE 2026 - ADVICE ON SUBMISSIONS TO THE REVIEW OF RPG9" (PDF). Buckinghamshire County Council. October 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Chancellor accepts East West Rail targets and strengthens plans with extra cash". Rail Technology Magazine.
  8. ^ King, Adam (14 December 2017). "Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park". East West Main Line Partnership.
  9. ^ "East West Rail 'may not serve Aylesbury'". Transport Extra. 2 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Connect Stages". East West Rail Ltd. 2021.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Timetable: London - Aylesbury via High Wycombe" (PDF). Chiltern Railways, May 2019.
  12. ^ "Timetable: London - Aylesbury via Amersham" (PDF). Chiltern Railways, May 2019.