A FLUKE discovery at an auction has revealed proposals to build a railway through the village almost a century before HS2 posed a threat to Harefield.
Mike Matthews, who lives in Mount Pleasant, was astounded to find two large books filled with hundreds of pages of plans at the auction in Portsmouth.
The railway enthusiast paid £80 for the leather-bound books dated 1924, which show how a branch of the Great West Railway was to be built from Denham through Harefield to Uxbridge.
Mr Matthews has trawled through hundreds of pages of documents, but why it was never built remains a mystery.
“I was so surprised to find them down there,” he said.
“The railway would have crossed Moorhall Road and gone along the Grand Union canal and down to the Uxbridge terminus near The Swan and Bottle pub.
“At the turn of the century Harefield was very industrial and the trains were going to be used for taking coal to the factories and mill and carry chalk and gravel from the mines in the village.”
The trains would also have carried passengers.
“It’s funny to look at these plans with all this controversy about HS2,” said Mr Matthews, “but it was railway madness at that time.
“These lines would be built not because of necessity but because companies thought they could steal some of the business from the other operators.
“That’s why there was so many duplicate lines.”
Mr Matthews plans to visit The National Archives to try to find out more.
“There must be something somewhere explaining why it never got built,” he said.
A recently published book, Harefield Through Time, does not mention the railway proposals.
“I don’t think many people know about it,” said Mr Matthews.