History of the Newport Pagnell to Wolverton Branch Railway - Early Projects. Return to History
Railways are expensive to construct, and generally speaking, are useless until completed throughout: they cannot be built up from small beginnings. Consequently, the promotion of new railways has tended to occur prolifically in periods of prosperity, when public confidence in the future was high, and in other years few or no railways may have been promoted.

Activity in this sphere was high in 1825, 1836 and 1845 to 1847. The last period is generally known as the "Railway Mania" during which several thousand schemes were put forward, many of them competitive.

In the 1846 session of Parliament there were two Bills for railways affecting Newport Pagnell. The Wolverton, Newport Pagnell and Bedford would not have reached the last-named place, but would have joined the line from Bletchley to Bedford (which was then under construction) just east of Ridgmont Station. At that time Wolverton station was considerably more important than Bletchley, and the scheme may have originated in the dissatisfaction of some inhabitants of Bedford, with the proposal to build the branch from Bedford to Bletchley.

The Wellingborough, Newport Pagnell and Bletchley Railway is sufficiently described by its title. Its purpose is obscure, but it enjoyed the support of the London and Birmingham Railway Co., and was engineered by the Stephensons.

Neither of these schemes was successful, but in the following year, the successor to the L.& B.R., the L.& N.W.R. Co. obtained an Act to build a line from Bletchley to Wellingborough, similar to that proposed in 1846 (London and North-Western Railway, Newport, Olney and Wellingborough Branch, Act 1847, 10 and 11 Vic.& 107 2nd July 1847.

However, by this time the railway companies were in serious financial difficulties because people had been in the habit of applying for far more shares than they could afford, because they expected to be allotted only a fraction of the shares they had asked for. Consequently most of the lines authorised in 1847 were never built.

No further schemes affecting Newport Pagnell were put forward until the 1860 session when a bill similar to that passed in 1863 was deposited. It was later withdrawn.


Photograph - © Buckinghamshire County Council 20 March 2000[Image]