Steam Railway to Benefit

The Government’s Announcement on November 29th that the East-West Rail link was likely to go ahead and re-open some Buckinghamshire Railway lines should help the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway but could be bad news for Quainton.

The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway’s Gain Could be to the Detriment of Others

British Rail stopped local passenger trains in 1963 north of Aylesbury and all services four years later. This left a large train yard at Quainton Road vacant and preservationists took it over, eventually hoping to run steam trains to Aylesbury, 7 miles away.

The London Railway Preservation Society purchased the station and railway yards there in 1969 but only one weekend of steam services ever ran to Aylesbury, in 1992 sponsored by Network SouthEast.

Against expectations, the line has remained open for rubbish trains from London to reach Calvert landfill site. The November 29 plan says that the line through Calvert will re-open for passenger trains in 2017 providing an hourly limited-stop fast service linking Marylebone and Milton Keynes via Winslow and Aylesbury.

Just under 11 miles of this route was closed on May 31st 1993 after several charter trains had run offering a last chance to travel on the routes including to the former Great Western and Great Central joint line to Akeman Street which originally met up with the GW main line to Birmingham.

The line via Calvert should see trains every 30 minutes linking Oxford and Bletchley via Bicester Town and Winslow. Of more interest to preservationists at Quainton and Chinnor, is the proposed 90mph service via Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.

By 2017, the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway could be steaming into Risboro’ after buying the final 600 yards of track into the station and refurbishing the bay platform there. This could open up a whole new market for the steam railway and also make Risboro’ a station where services run north, south, east and west again.

This will bring Princes Risborough within 50 minutes of Milton Keynes but conversely prevent any shuttle trains running between Aylesbury and Quainton. These are slow speed diesel unit trains and run on some bank holidays but it is not sure if paths will exist for them from 2017.

The documentation for the re-opening project suggests the current 30mph linespeed through Quainton will increase to 90mph. The HM Treasury publication suggests that trains from Aylesbury to Milton Keynes will run non-stop between Aylesbury and Winslow in each direction.

Full details will be announced by Network Rail within 6 months.

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