On Sunday, Robyn had a much needed day off from me. It meant that I had a chance to do something she couldn't stand.
I spent the day on The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway - it's a heritage railway run by amateur enthusiasts.
I got my ticket!
And I got myself ready for a day of travel........but not very far.
This quiet backwater of the mighty 'Great West Railway' closed to passenger traffic in 1957 but, as you can see, it's very much still running.
This is 'L92' is coming back to Chinnor Station under full steam;
It's a grand sight;
This railway would not be here if it weren't for it's dedicated supporters, as you can see from this plaque on a bench;
Apart from that, the secret of the lines survival is that it continued to run into the 1980's, serving the Chinnor Cement Quarry which is now being turned into a housing estate.
The milk churns are from the 'CWS', The Co-Operative Wholesale Society which I worked for many years ago.
Here's 'Haversham', a heritage Diesel engine which also serves the line;
Last year we came to one of the lines open days and I struggled around the yards and the platform on my walking frame. This year I don't need a walker any more but I'm fairly badly disabled so it was still a real struggle and one of the attractions was that I could limit the walking I did.
In turn I was rewarded by a beautiful day in the sunshine enjoying a trip through the spring countryside;.
The wheat is coming through;
And we passed Bledlow Village cricket club;
The line is only about three miles long although it takes about 45 minutes to make the return journey.
I did it four times!
There are views of sheep and their lambs, there are Red Kites swooping over head, the bright yellow of Oil Seed Rape in flower, cowslips and buttercups.
There are old cottages;
And above all there is the sheer beauty of Bledlow Ridge, part of The Ridgeway;
Everything about the line is a real pleasure;
The fire at the heart of a steam train;
The strength of brass and steel;
I had an afternoon of quiet pleasure enjoying the sense of waiting for a train on a rural branch line at around 1965;
Where there's a canteen and a manned ticket office and an attendant at the level crossings;
And amongst the Red Kites there are paragliders flying over Bledlow Ridge;
A very special day.
And there are big developments coming - after 30 years the line has been reconnected to Princes Risborough and the mainline.
As yet there are permissions to be won, regulations to be adhered to and a platform to be built (one day) but in the meantime there are hopes that this year will see a train make the complete journey again.
It's an incredible achievement for a small, underfunded but extremely dedicated group of enthusiasts.
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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