A VOLUNTEER based railway has been recognised for its innovative anniversary event, which linked Aylesbury and Chinnor once more.

The Heritage Railway Association held its annual awards ceremony in Bath this month.

The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railways received the top Morton’s Media Rail Express magazine Modern Traction award.

It was made in recognition of the collaboration with Chiltern Railways, Network Rail and Knorr-Bremse- the principal partners in delivering the multi-anniversary event last October on the preserved line.

The event saw two tracks join up just outside Princes Risborough, which allowed trains to travel from Aylesbury to Chinnor for the first time in 57 years.

The citation for the award read: ‘for staging an innovative modern traction event featuring a special reinstatement of a main line connection with through running from Aylesbury and some highly sought after guest locomotives’.

Roger J Fagg, chairman of the railway said: "The event was held over three weekends in October and special trains linked Aylesbury, Princes Risborough and Chinnor, the first for nearly 60 years.

"It was a splendid example of many organisations working closely together - Chiltern Railways providing the trains, Network Rail rejoining the preserved railway to the mainline, while Ercol and Origin Productions made possible a new platform at Risborough.

"In addition the Royal Train shunters were loaned by Knorr-Bremse and officially named at Chinnor and via West Coast Railways, operators of the Hogwarts Express, a vintage diesel came from the Class 20 Society. Hundreds of visitors and enthusiasts enjoyed a very unique and exceptional experience and they travelled from all over the UK to join the trains."

The Speaker of The House of Commons, John Bercow, waved the inaugural charter train away from Princes Risborough on October 5 accompanied by a gathering of mayors, Chiltern Railways managing director Rob Brighouse, Network Rail’s route managing director, Dyan Crowther and many other dignitaries.

Jenny McGee, enterprise director at Visit England, the national tourist board said: "The consensus is that these charters linking Aylesbury and Chinnor have built a firm foundation for future cross-platform operations at Princes Risborough.

"It’s a great example of how our heritage railway lines bring economic and tourism benefits to the local areas where they operate. They’re a great economic generator with visitors and enthusiasts riding the trains and spending locally in shops, pubs, restaurants and on accommodation."