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The end of a momentous year in the life of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway

The C&PRR is delighted to announce that a year to the day after running their first trains into Princes Risborough, all the legal agreements and formalities associated with acquiring land and railway sidings at Princes Risborough were completed.

The 100% volunteer run railway signed Agreements with Network Rail on 25 June last year enabling regular trains to run to Princes Risborough for the first time in 59 years.  

Crew training runs were made between 25 June and 10 July last year bringing the first steam train alongside the remnants of the former Watlington line platform. These services carried passengers two months later as preview services and continue to run.   

On 25 June 2017, the C&PRR paid Network Rail a six-figure sum for a 99 years lease on the land and track at Princes Risborough, enabling major track alterations to commence and the restoration of an original platform. The railway’s volunteers worked continuously for 7 days in temperatures of over 30 degrees removing massive sections of track.

New track will be laid over the next year adjacent to the former Watlington platform, which is being reconstructed by other volunteers. They reached a major milestone with the restoration, brick by brick, of the former platform wall and footings being completed on 11 June.

This work reversed 60 years of disuse and neglect, last being regularly used on 29 June 1957. They will now have to create a level surface and associated bits of building to create the UK’s newest railway interchange.

Once the work is completed, the C&PRR will become the nearest connected steam heritage railway to London. With a simple change of trains passengers will be able to travel from Aylesbury, Oxford, Banbury and Birmingham to Chinnor village in Midsomer County, gateway to some lovely walks in the Chilterns.

To celebrate the completion of formalities the C&PRR is running three weekends of typical 1957 train services and passengers who travel in 1950s style clothes will benefit from cheap travel – but slightly more than 30p as was the fare 60 years ago!

It is planned to open the Princes Risborough rail interchange in time for the main summer season next year, but this is dependent on how many volunteers are available to carry out the work.

Two recent well attended volunteer induction courses were held in May and June attracting a new band of recruits and from them a team has been formed to prepare for the Princes Risborough opening. Prospective volunteers can contact the volunteers’ recruitment team on volunteersupport@chinnorrailway.co.uk

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