History of the Towersey Railway Line

Towersey HaltThe railway was originally known as the ‘Wycombe extension’ and was first talked about in the mid 1850’s. It was designed to connect High Wycombe to Thame via Princes Risborough by a single track as part of the Great Western Railway.

The first sod was cut in Towersey in September 1859 by Mr. Edward Griffin who was one of the directors and lived in Towersey Manor at the time. The line was opened up on 1st August 1862. The service ran four trains daily in each direction between Thame and Paddington.This journey took some two and a half hours. A second class single fare to London from Thame cost 6/3d which is around 31.5p. A third class ticket cost around four shillings (20p). The line was extended to Oxford and completed in 1864.

Towersey waited 70 years for its own station on the line and it was eventually in place and opened up on 5th. June 1933. Towersey Halt was situated approximately a quarter of a mile from the village centre on the Towersey/Chinnor road. Access to the Halt was via a cinder track down the slope of the embankment on the village side of the line. The path is still there and provides access to the ‘Phoenix Trail’. The Halt was lit by three oil lamps along the platform. These lamps had to be lit by one of the villagers everyday.

In 1963 the line ceased to be used as a passenger line. The last train ran on 6th January that year. However, the line was still used for goods traffic between Thame and Oxford until 1965. In 1969 part of the track was removed but the line was still used to transport oil to the Shell-Mex and BP terminal until its closure in the 1980’s when the line was abandoned and the track remove.

In 1997 the conversion was started to make a footpath, cycle way and bridle path to be known as the Phoenix Trail.