The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, the heritage line across the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border, looks likely to gain redundant track materials resulting from Network Rail works for the High Speed 2 rail line.
The nearby railway between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury, which carries passenger trains operated by Chiltern Railways, is currently closed so that part of it can be realigned where the new HS2 line is to run underneath. New track is being laid on the diversion, and some of the old track materials are being passed by Network Rail to the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway which is a local charity and entirely run by volunteers.
The redundant concrete sleepers becoming available date back several decades, and are not suitable for reuse on the National network as they don’t fit modern rail which is heavier and of a different profile more suited to present day speeds and loads. The 25mph heritage railway will be using them to relay part of a stretch of track just outside Princes Risborough which was closed by British Rail in 1989 and became derelict – its wooden sleepers rotted away and trees grew through it!
The old steel rail being lifted won’t be re-usable, as it is already well worn and will be cut into short lengths to speed the removal process. The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway is running a fund raising campaign to allow it to source replacement rail, hundreds of tonnes of ballast, and the rest of the materials needed. The C&PRR has been operating steam and heritage diesel trains between Chinnor and a location ½ mile from Princes Risborough since 1993, and was extended in August 2018 to serve a 4th platform at Princes Risborough station which was rebuilt by its volunteers. Additional track and signalling systems have been installed, and the “listed” signal box is being restored too. Access into Princes Risborough station was enabled by agreement with Network Rail to allow C&PRR trains to share one of their sidings, diverting around the derelict track mentioned above, but only when the siding is not otherwise required! Completion of the relaying of this stretch of track will give the C&PRR its own independent line into the station, a key development ambition for the charity.
Further information and contacts: https://www.chinnorrailway.co.uk/product.php/376/can-you-help-complete-the-risborough-extension