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On track for Princes Risborough after record breaking year

The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway ended 2016 with a huge Christmas present – a record breaking festive season to end a literally ground-breaking year for the 100% volunteer-run steam railway.

Christmas visitors increased by 28% over 2015, itself a record year for the railway and large numbers returned after Christmas, especially on New Year’s Day when the steam services returned to Princes Risborough.

The line is now in the middle of 10-week closure while its volunteers continue with track improvement works and ‘Project Risborough’ - which includes building a new section of track and Buckinghamshire’s newest railway platform at Princes Risborough (which should be opened in late summer 2017). This is also the 60th anniversary year of the end of regular passenger trains to Chinnor and Watlington.

The UK Government has made a significant grant towards funding the new platform and reinstating new track, recognising the tourism potential of a steam railway serving Princes Risborough, but more volunteers are needed to complete the job as soon as possible.

The work is now taking shape after volunteers worked for 25 years to gain the consents needed to operate trains into Princes Risborough. Volunteers have carried out vegetation clearance and removed an estimated 65 tons of rubble, spoil and scrap accumulated since 1957 when regular services ceased.

Much of the detritus was from when the station buildings on the original 1904 built platform were demolished and used to fill the voids under the buildings and platform. A lot of the materials such as bricks and surface paving will be re-used during the project.

The ground and general land clearance has revealed the 1904 built platform face used until 1957 by trains to Chinnor and Watlington and will be rebuilt to modern safety standards along with new fencing and gates.

Once the rebuilding has been carried out, new track will be laid alongside the rebuilt platform and four sets of points will connect this to existing track to allow shunting to be carried out.

Steve Growcott, Princes Risborough Project Manager said:
"This is the work that will get you fit in the fresh air as a volunteer on the railway, and I’m looking for anyone who has, or could learn, building or DIY skills. Once the platform is ready, track needs to be laid - suitable training can be given but some muscle is also required, as materials will not move themselves around on-site!”

The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway volunteer training manager John Page is waiting for your email at volunteertraining@chinnorrailway.co.uk He will make the necessary arrangements for those who want to build a platform to success. 

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