Supporters of the restoration of a railway line to Princes Risborough were finally able to make use of their ‘first train’ ticket – 20 years after buying them.
The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Association (C&PRRA) purchased the branch-line between Chinnor to just 800 metres from Princes Risborough from British Rail in 1991 expecting to buy the remaining section soon after - but were unable to due to changes within the rail industry and struggling to find the money.
But now the association has worked with Network Rail and, with the support of Chiltern Railways, has raised enough money for the reinstatement of a platform and loop line at Princes Risborough.
It has also received a financial boost from the government. The loop line will provide an interchange for services with London, with facilities to be installed early next year.
Ahead of the works, the heritage line will be operating a Risborough Preview service with steam and vintage diesel hauled trains today, Sunday, and on August 14, 21 and 28.
The first steam train to visit the former end of the Watlington line at Princes Risborough for over 50 years, has already operated with ‘first train’ ticket holders and guests taking advantage.
Danny Woodward, chairman of C&PRRA, said: “We aim to run our Sunday steam and vintage diesel hauled ‘Risborough Preview’ trains over the extension into Princes Risborough from August 7, 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 September 4, we have our Kids-for-a-Quid scheme whereby any adult or senior ticket holder can take up to two children, aged three to 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 chinnorrailway.co.uk for all details and how to book.”