Monday, 1 June 2015

Back in time without a DeLorean at The Chinnor and Princess Risborough preserved railway.

On Saturday I went time travelling again! I was out for about 7 hours which is a record for me although I was fairly shattered by the time I got home.

I travelled to a land where there are enamel mugs full of strong tea;

Where the milk is collected in churns like these;

And where there is a rather stern but kindly Station Master to keep you out of trouble;

We took a trip back in time to catch a train at a tiny branch line station somewhere in the 1960's or earlier.

And there wasn't a DeLorean in sight anywhere!

There were lots of these;

Although it was easy enough to get into trouble;

We took a ride on a train at The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, one of many old railways preserved by enthusiasts - they had an open day. And with it a chance to take a look around the signal box, their new shed (they're still collecting desperately needed money to finish it off) and all the carriages and engines they are repairing for  use in the future.

Once again, no steam trains running for me today (it was a free day) but they have one;

This was our ride, the kind of Diesel that ran on small lines like this one when I was young;

The trains were packed out, the station was packed and we got a ride on just over a mile of preserved railway - they have dreams of getting day.

It was beautiful.

If you are on a road you travel through a tube of urban landscape. On this line we just cut through the beautiful countryside at the foot of The Chiltern Hills. The fields were full of young crops, a cricket match was about to start....a real joy.

Above all, the strange feeling of seats you once used to sit on, of luggage racks and linoleum floors and of door handles that didn't work. The touch and feel of another age.

I normally manage to resist nostalgia - it's dangerous and it's easy to forget that times were actually worse back then.

But this was nice; a real achievement to keep going a little branch line that currently doesn't actually go anywhere.

And everybody loved it - laughing kids, happy parents.

There was a café in a restored carriage where the volunteers were struggling to keep up with demand.

There were lots of toys to play with;

Really there were;

But this is now the fourth time I've failed to see a steam train (the 'invisible train' as Robyn calls it).

And I don't think I'm going to be able to drag Robyn back there again!

But we drove on and had another look at the Chilterns - that's for tomorrow.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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