|LEAMINGTON SPA By current standards, Leamington Spa is a grand station, though far from modern except by the ticket office. Its marble and white stone frontage and its sweeping curved chrome door handles suggest the 1930s. Both platforms still boast their GWR waiting rooms, one with a large snack bar, and much of the platform area is covered by traditional canopies and a fine array of bushes and flowers in tubs.|
|BANBURY station is on an unsigned road off Bridge Street. It is frequently signed through the town, though not with 100% clarity. Banbury has two island platforms with enclosed waiting areas, and these are connected by a wide passenger overbridge (with a coffee bar) to the modern station foyer on the west side of the line. There are service lifts to the overbridge which are signed for wheeled users, but we noticed that they were being left open with bits of rubbish in them, which made them neither appealing nor accessible. Much of the station is canopied and other facilities include drinks machines. The station foyer includes the ticket office, a travel centre and a newsagent/bookshop. There is pay-and-display parking in a large block, and also in bits and pieces. Wheels: LH.|
Kings Sutton is the splitting point for the Oxford and High Wycombe lines. Continue immediately below for the High Wycombe route, or click here, Heyford, to go across to the Oxford route.
BICESTER NORTH station lies north of the town centre, with access from the
A4421 (Buckingham Road), which passes under the line just to the north-west of the station. A traditional station
building in good condition is on the northbound platform, and includes a ticket office and cafeteria. The south
side has a waiting room and shelter. The two platforms (wide-spaced because a pair of fast lines used to run through
the middle) are linked by an uncovered overbridge, accessible by stairs or passenger-operated lift. There is a taxi
rank beside the station building, and pay-and-display parking for about 200 cars, with a further 150 now being planned.
Note: there is a separate station just south of the town centre, called Bicester. There is no line link between them. We would estimate the walk at 10-15 minutes. The line there goes only to Islip and Oxford. For more details, click Oxford to Bicester
|HADDENHAM & THAME PARKWAY station lies on the west edge of Haddenham on Thame Road. It is very shyly signed - indeed the only sign we found had been swung round to point in the wrong direction. Thame Road is a long straight road with traffic-calming islands that is interrupted by a roundabout by the station. One exit slants down to the main parking area, while a steeper slope leads to another roundabout with a bus stop on one side and disabled and short stay parking round the rest of the perimeter. The modern station building and ticket office lies above platform height with ramps down to the nearer platform, up to the road, and across to the other platform. A correspondent kindly advises us that the far platform now has a direct link from the road bridge as well, and the sketch has been modified to reflect this. There is a bus shelter on each platform (position of the north side one is assumed). If your train takes a while to come it may give you time to watch gliders taking off from the adjacent field. Wheels: LH.|
|PRINCES RISBOROUGH station is on the southwestern edge of the town, a short distance off the A401, down the B4444 (Station Road/Summerleys Road). A branch off to the left leads to the station and its car park. There is a small 20 minute set-down area and disabled parking, with the main parking for perhaps 150 vehicles being pay-and-display. The station is level access from the road, with a traditional canopied building and ticket office on the London side, but only two shelters on the north-bound side. The link between the two (across 3 tracks, though the middle one has been removed) is a covered overbridge, with lifts at each end for wheeled access. Wheels: LH.|
|SAUNDERTON station is at the southern boundary of Saunderton on the A4010, with only a small sign on the opposite side of the road warning you of the turn. This takes you under the line, where you immediately turn right. The access road leads to the northbound side of the station and about 20 cars could park there. It serves only the station and has no vehicular link with the housing access road that runs right alongside. The pavement is lowered just by the station entrance to assist prams, etc.,|
but a passenger overbridge is the only way across the line. The north side has a bus shelter while the south side's 1905 traditional waiting room
has survived and was restored in 2004 with funds raised privately and given added period features to enhance it. It is open in the Monday to
Friday morning rush, but kept locked at other times. It would be nice if Network Rail could match this local effort
with a boarded crossing. The station is unstaffed but has video train timetable
displays and piped public announcements. Wheels: LH.|
Saunderton also has an unexpected claim to fame as this monochrome picture shows: the main building was one of the targets of the suffragette movement in 1913. It was restored at the time but demolished in the 1970s. Our thanks to Wycombe District Councillor David Devine for providing the photo and updating our earlier details.
HIGH WYCOMBE station is off to the right of Crendon Street (the A404) as it climbs north-east from the town centre. Its two staggered platforms are linked by a subway which appears to be ramped, but could not be checked. Additionally, the Leamington side has a bay which is fenced off from the main part of the platform, but has a walkway access on the car park side. Automatic ticket barriers control access. The two middle fast tracks have been lifted since its Great Western/Great Central heyday, leaving the two platforms well separated. Both have canopies, so there is plenty of shelter from the rain. Pay-and-display parking is provided on both sides of the station, and there is easy access from there to each platform. The London side parking is reachable from Totteridge Road, though the drop down the hill to it is longer than the sketch suggests here. Wheels: LH.|
The photo looks south east from Crendon Street bridge, with the London platform at top left.
BEACONSFIELD As you get closer to London, the commuting impact is increasingly visible, and Beaconsfield demonstrates this with its multi-storey parking on the east side of the line - a lot of it built recently. Service roads slope down to both sides of the track from Station Road (about 175 yards), but there is no parking except in the multi-storey. The station itself is on two separate platforms with a gap between the present tracks where two fast tracks were removed during the years of railway decline. In 2006, the approaches to the platform tracks were realigned as part of general line improvements; non-stop trains may now pass through at 75mph rather than the previous 40mph, so waiting passengers should stand well back. The station buildings are traditional with canopies, with a ticket office on the London side and automatic ticket barriers. Wheelchair access to the buildings seems satisfactory, but there may be a need for help with the ticket barriers. Wheels: LH.
Stations south of Beaconsfield are not covered in this guide, but as many travellers would be likely to use the terminus at Marylebone, London, this is included below.
MARYLEBONE is the youngest of London's original steam railway terminals -
in this case built by the Great Central Railway in 1899. The 'missing platform' effect is not modern expediency but
due to the GCR running short of money 100 years ago.|
The station is now used by Chiltern Railways and features an attractive, light modern concourse under the original overall roof, with seating areas, a newsagents, and a wide range of food sellers. The ticket office is close to the platforms - and right next to the Underground station's ticket office with escalators down to the Bakerloo line platforms. The whole (main line) station seems to be easy access apart from the automated tickets barriers, but there are staff nearby to assist if needed.
There are two exits - one to Harewood Avenue through a foyer which appeared to be in mid-renovation when we visited. The other leads out to the station frontage on Melcombe Place. This has a cross-street canopy which suggests a link to a former railway hotel opposite. There is street parking - but for whom isn't obvious. We saw no separate rail-user parking.
In late 2006, Chiltern Railways unveiled its new platforms 5 and 6 (platform 4 having been shortened to provide the necessary access, though the layout may not be quite as shown here), which means that Marylebone is no longer London's smallest terminus. The December 2006 photo is courtesy of S.P. Smiler, via Wikipedia. Wheels: LH.
Copyright © 2008 Dudley Mall.