The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway Association (C&PRRA) purchased the branch-line from British Rail between Chinnor to just 800 metres from Princes Risborough in 1991 expecting to buy the remaining section soon after - but due to changes within the rail industry and finding the monies to do it, negotiations at that time ran into the buffer-stops and hopes were dashed…
As the years rolled by the members and supporters of the heritage steam railway never gave up their dreams to see the line return to its former terminus at Princes Risborough – even though for several decades it seemed as far away as ever. Then, in more recent times, changes within the rail industry brought in-train a new and supportive relationship between Network Rail and the C&PRRA - with the wholehearted support of Chiltern Railways, serious negotiations and fund raising resumed.
The Railway was delighted to be one of the winners of a million-pound competition to boost rail-related tourism funded by the UK Government earlier this year. It means that the reinstatement of a platform and loop line at Princes Risborough, for interchange with services from London and other main line destinations, can now forge ahead. With the installation of these facilities in 2017 the line will become London’s nearest connected steam heritage railway.
In advance of the works taking place, negotiations with Network Rail have borne further fruit in that the heritage line is now able to operate ‘Risborough Preview’ services on certain Sundays.
Some of the Association’s early volunteers and supporters of the railway purchased their ‘first train’ tickets in the early 1990s and they have had a long wait! The very first steam train carrying these ticket holders and invited guests ran recently, and it was the first to visit the former end of the Watlington line at Princes Risborough it is thought for over 50 years.
Further ‘Risborough Preview’ steam and vintage diesel hauled train services will leave Chinnor station on Sundays 07, 14, 21, and 28 August - please see here for all details and how to book.Danny Woodward, Chairman, C&PRRA, said: ‘We aim to run our Sunday steam and vintage diesel hauled ‘Risborough Preview’ trains over the extension into Princes Risborough from Sunday 07 August, although it won’t be until we have constructed a new platform that visitors can join or alight here. Throughout the summer school holidays, until 04 September, we have our Kids-for-a-Quid scheme whereby any Adult or Senior ticket holder can take up to two children, 3-15 years, for just £1 each. Come along and take a Risborough Preview at a special price! We’ve also got steam trains operating from Chinnor to Thame Junction on Thursdays in August – please see here for all details and how to book.’