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This railway opened as a small private branch line from the Great Western station at Princes Risborough through rural Oxfordshire to the town of Watlington in 1872.  There were two intermediate stations at Chinnor and Aston Rowant.  The line almost immediately ran into financial difficulties, and finally in 1883 it was acquired by the Great Western.  They upgraded the line and opened some additional halts along the route.  After the Second World War, passenger traffic dropped away, and the last passenger service ran in June 1957.  Goods trains continued along the whole route until December 1960, when the tracks were lifted between Chinnor and Watlington.  The section between Chinnor and Princes Risborough remained for goods traffic from Chinnor cement works.  However, the station buildings and platform at Chinnor were demolished.  

The cement traffic continued until the end of 1989, when maintenance of the line was taken over by the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Association.  They bought the track bed outright in 1994.  Short passenger trips were begun later that year, and gradually the service was extended from Chinnor, reaching Thame Junction in 1996.  

Work on the reconstruction of the Victorian station at Chinnor was begun in 1998 and completed in 2002.  Currently the passenger service runs from Chinnor for 3˝ miles to Thame Junction, just short of Princes Risborough.  At Thame Junction there is no station, so passengers remain seated.  A run-round loop enables the locomotive to re-attach at the front of the train for a return trip to Chinnor.

Future plans include an extension into Princes Risborough station with full passenger facilities; and an eventual rebuilding of the line from Chinnor southwards to Aston Rowant.  Both these projects will require much effort and money, and may take some years to realise.

These photographs were taken on Sunday 24th April 2011.


The entrance to Chinnor Station, next to the extensive car park.


5786 0-6-0 PT takes on water for the next trip.


This signal box began life near Chester in 1894.  It was saved from destruction by an enthusiast who re-erected it in his Berkshire garden.  This owner sadly passed away in 2006 and his family offered the box to the Chinnor railway.  With foundations and base being built over the winter of 2006/7, the signal box was put into position in June 2007.


Chinnor station complex.  The coach body, which is the station café, is a Cambrian Railway carriage
from the late 1880s.  It was donated by a local man who had kept it in his garden for many years.


This photo shows the high quality and authenticity of the station rebuild, which was completed in 2002.


View of the tracks and sidings towards Aston Rowant.


5786 0-6-0 PT, built Swindon in 1929, is bringing the train into the platform at Chinnor for the next service.


The next train is awaiting departure.
This photo shows the attention to detail given by the railway in the reconstruction of the station.


Seen from the train window, this is Wainhill Crossing Halt, which is not served by the trains.
It originally opened in 1925, and was closed in 1957.


Seen from the train window, this is Bedlow Bridge Halt, which is not served by the trains.
It originally opened in 1906, and was closed in 1957.


Seen from the train window, 5786 is on the passing loop, making for the front of the train for the return to Chinnor.


Cyclists and walkers greet the train at one of the level crossings.


Built at Swindon by the Great Western Railway in 1929, 5786 has completed another round trip to Thame Junction.


Class 08 Diesel Shunter D3018 is arriving to remove the train from Chinnor station.


Class 08 Diesel Shunter D3018 was built at Derby in 1953.


Class 08 Diesel Shunter D3018 is removing the carriages, so that the steam loco can reattach at the front,
and bring the train back into the station for the next journey.


Chinnor Station sits quietly in the April sunshine.


The train arrives at Chinnor Station in a picture that could have been taken 60 years earlier.



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© Copyright M J Smith, 2011
No photographs to be reproduced elsewhere without permission.