Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Is Now Connected To The Mainline!

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168lover

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After 25 years of planning, fund-raising, false starts, and lots of negotiations, it took a small team of Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway (C&PRR) volunteers just one day of hard work out on the track at Thame Junction to finally reconnect the heritage line to the National Rail network. The connection installation had been well prepared by the volunteers and was executed precisely as planned on Sunday 21 February. It is one further vital step that the eight hundred members of the C&PRR have been waiting for and the heavy workload was made possible by a member purchasing a Road-Rail vehicle and more volunteers coming forward.
C&PRR Chairman, Danny Woodward said, ‘An extraordinary amount of dedicated hard work has been carried out to obtain the consents and permissions required to re-open the connection, and over the last 25 years we have been dealing with British Rail, Railtrack and Network Rail. Apart from several specials when the line was temporarily reconnected, the short gap in the track may as well have been 100 miles! In reaching this stage today, credit is greatly due to the small team at Network Rail who are involved with the project. They have demonstrated a real drive to ‘get things done’ and they share our ambition for the future.’
This does not mean that the preserved railway will be able to commence train operations to Princes Risborough just yet. The heritage line will have to wait until the Track Access Agreement, currently being negotiated, is signed and that crews are fully familiar with the revised operating instructions. It is hoped that the momentum will continue and we will see the preserved railway once again reach Princes Risborough later this year.
Meanwhile, it does open up the possibility of mainline operators bringing charter train services to Chinnor and also other locomotives visiting the railway. The line was temporarily connected for one train in 2010 when a steam hauled special from Banbury arrived at Chinnor and again in October 2013 when a series of services were operated by Chiltern Railways.
The new connection has been made to the former Thame Branch, which is still in use by Network Rail (NR) and Chiltern Railways as a siding. The next fund-raising challenge for the railway is to purchase a lease of NR land at Princes Risborough and the remaining section of the former Chinnor branch, then to replace the platform and track along the parallel formation.
The adjacent mainline railway is also expanding and Princes Risborough already has trains running to Oxford, Aylesbury, London Marylebone, Birmingham and, in a few more years, Milton Keynes and Bedford – the opportunities for interchange with the heritage line are growing! And given that Chinnor’s volunteers have just completed the first restoration phase of Princes Risborough North signalbox (for which an interim lease with NR is now in place), the heritage railway is suddenly becoming noticed and growing. The line experienced a double-digit percentage increase in passenger numbers in 2015 creating a new record.
 
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168lover

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well this is good news! I guess C&PR are my local railway but without a car they are hard to reach from MK by public transport!

In a few months time you'll be able to get a bus to Aylesbury followed by a train to Risborough. Once at Risborough it would a simple interchange onto our line.:D
 

A0wen

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well this is good news! I guess C&PR are my local railway but without a car they are hard to reach from MK by public transport!

Well - to be pedantic, the absolute closest is the Caldecotte Lake Railway....

Then Leighton Buzzard which can be walked from Leighton Buzzard station.

Quainton Road is also closer - but is more a railway centre than heritage line.

And there was nearly a line in Dunstable - but it was probably a lucky escape that one didn't come to fruition.... :lol:
 

STEVIEBOY1

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I am very pleased to hear this news, I don't drive so getting there by public transport is not easy, so with a same station connection at Princes, Risborough, it will be so much better.

I shall keep an eye on their website.

Well done to all concerned to help make this happen. :D
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Would I be correct in thinking that there were several lines, now closed, branching off / converging at Princes Risborough with one going to Watlington and another going to Thame?

Is there a platform and loop at Princes Risborough that the Chinnor can use when fully open?
 

168lover

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Would I be correct in thinking that there were several lines, now closed, branching off / converging at Princes Risborough with one going to Watlington and another going to Thame?

Is there a platform and loop at Princes Risborough that the Chinnor can use when fully open?

The track to Tring doesn't exist, now just a cycle track. There will be a new platform at Risborough and a run round loop for our use. We will first be using network rail rails which is the old thame branch tracks which is still used by Chiltern for ECSs. Our eventual aim however is to use the old chinnor line rails and run it semi self contained from the mainline.
 

yorkie

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Sounds good :) When do you think we can get a train from Princes Risborough to Chinnor? Is August a possibility?

(Also did you write this article? If not, please edit your post to comply with the forum rules. See PM. Thanks)
 

yorkie

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The track to Tring doesn't exist, now just a cycle track....
I can't find an old railway line to Tring, nor a cycle track.

There is an old trackbed from Aylesbury to Cheddington, but it doesn't appear to be a cycle track.

Do you have any photos or maps showing this?
 

Spamcan81

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I can't find an old railway line to Tring, nor a cycle track.

There is an old trackbed from Aylesbury to Cheddington, but it doesn't appear to be a cycle track.

Do you have any photos or maps showing this?

I think the poster should have put Thame, not Tring.
 

aylesbury

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The line from Aylesbury to Cheddington has largely disappeared under fields and in Aylesbury retail units and one section will soon be a road. If you come to Railex Aylesbury in May you will see a model of old Aylesbury station.
 

ian1944

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Would I be correct in thinking that there were several lines, now closed, branching off / converging at Princes Risborough with one going to Watlington and another going to Thame?

A belated reply, as I've just read this. A good resource for seeing the track of closed lines is www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps. Selecting Historic OS Maps, then either Seventh Series for 1 inch mapping or 1:25000 for 2.5 inch, gives a scrollable, zoomable national coverage from which you can home in on anywhere of interest. Both the Watlington and Thame branches are shown in full. Incidentally, the site of the former station is accessible and there are artifacts to be seen lurking in the undergrowth. I presume that there are no plans for extending beyond Chinnor in this direction.
 

CarltonA

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Incidentally, the site of the former station is accessible and there are artifacts to be seen lurking in the undergrowth. I presume that there are no plans for extending beyond Chinnor in this direction.

I assume you are referring to the Watlington station site which was just abandoned and left to crumble. The C&PRR have long term plans to go as far as Aston Rowant. Beyond there will not be possible as the A40 would need a level crossing (unlikely) and anyway beyond that the formation was lost when the M40 was built.

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/watlington/index.shtml
 

ian1944

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Yes, I was using "former" in the sense of first-named rather than as-was. I'm afraid that I just forgot the M40, it not appearing on the old map being looked at.
 

route:oxford

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I assume you are referring to the Watlington station site which was just abandoned and left to crumble. The C&PRR have long term plans to go as far as Aston Rowant. Beyond there will not be possible as the A40 would need a level crossing (unlikely) and anyway beyond that the formation was lost when the M40 was built.

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/watlington/index.shtml


Would a train fit through this tunnel? It appears to be on or close to the original formation.

https://goo.gl/maps/vyX23Wuemaz

I'm guessing the land owner insisted on continued access and then there is the Ridgeway path that runs on the footpath to the side.
 

CarltonA

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Would a train fit through this tunnel? It appears to be on or close to the original formation.

https://goo.gl/maps/vyX23Wuemaz

I'm guessing the land owner insisted on continued access and then there is the Ridgeway path that runs on the footpath to the side.

I don't think the gradient would be good if they diverted that far over. The original route is through junction six and as I recall the land rises towards the Stokenchurch Bank right after the junction. Anyway, a level crossing on the A40 would be "difficult".
 

route:oxford

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I don't think the gradient would be good if they diverted that far over. The original route is through junction six and as I recall the land rises towards the Stokenchurch Bank right after the junction. Anyway, a level crossing on the A40 would be "difficult".

In the olden days, didn't the road cross the railway by bridge?
 

bramling

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It looks like it did, but having stopped there once, it seems the road level has been altered. I found some traces in the hedgerows on either side.

http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/index.php?view=51.52601,-0.64643&map=NPEMap&zoom=8&layer=3

I think the A40 is on its original level, it's the railway cutting which has been infilled at the point where it meets the A40. Indeed traces of the original road-over-rail bridge can still be found. The whole Aston Rowant site is not massively changed from the day the railway closed. I don't think the A40 would be a massive obstacle to extending the railway.

The M40 is a completely different matter however. Getting through that would be a massive expense. However if it could be done then the rest of the route to Watlington is fairly clear. Never say never, but I can't see the M40 being crossed unfortunately. Perhaps the only hope is if some major change to the motorway ever happens and the crossing could be included in that.
 

168lover

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at the crossing? Hope you didnt get to wet!

What was with all the high viz. I haven't seen a preserved railway have all its staff so dressed. From a big railway perspective it is good to see ;)

Tis was my don't care if I get wet clothes. I did get quite wet and at a couple of points it was quite windy, so windy at one point that my glasses fell off.
 
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