Trespassers delay re-opening of Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway

Volunteers undertaking work on a stretch of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway
Volunteers undertaking work on a stretch of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway

The re-opening of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway has been delayed because of the ‘inconsiderate actions of a few’ trespassers.

The byway on the line at Little Horsenden level crossing near Princes Risborough was closed on May 14.

It was closed to allow work on the level crossing track which was ‘life expired’ having last been relaid by British Rail more than 60 years ago.

As the byway is a public right of way, railway volunteers had to request, and were subsequently granted, a temporary traffic restriction order by Bucks County Council.

A diversion for both pedestrians and other traffic was signed throughout its route.

Volunteers had taken some holiday to carry out the repairs while avoiding the weekends when the crossing is most frequently used.

However throughout the week, work had to stop on more than one occasions as a small minority of the public chose to ignore the road closed signs and trespassed on to the working site forcing the stoppage of the use of heavy plant and machinery construction equipment.

This delayed the carefully planned engineering project and has cost the railway money as they have had to extend hire periods for the machinery used to move 20 metre long rails and heavy concrete sleepers.

Volunteers were repeatedly forced to suspend operations to ensure the safety of the trespassers who climbed over fences and gates to illegally access the site.

The police were reportedly called several times to ensure the safety of volunteers after threats made to them by the trespassers.

As a result of the trespassers, the railway says that delays in the work have occurred meaning the crossing will remain closed until May 23 despite the railway tracks being renewed.

It is hoped the timber crossing will be completed, offering a level surface to the byway.

A statement from the railway said: “We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to the majority of the public, who have understood the reason for the byway closure and respected it.”