A VOLUNTEER-run railway said goodbye to two of its hardest workers.

Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway said goodbye to steam locomotive No. 1369, which is returning to work at its home on the South Devon Railway, and John Antell, a heavy road haulage contractor, who has provided huge support by moving various steam locomotives to and from the heritage line over many years.

The 35 tonne steam train was winched onto a road trailer to Buckfastleight in Devon, before a surprise ceremony at Chinnor Railways.

Chairman of the line, Roger Fagg, presented Mr Antell with life membership of the railway, together with an oil painting by renowned Royal Wolverton Works railway artist John Kitchen to commemorate the event.

Mr Fagg said: "We are sorry to see both No 1369 and John Antell retire from our heritage line, but they both deserve a very well-earned rest.

"The locomotive has delighted crowds of visitors to the railway and we look forward to her replacement, beginning with steam trains on Mothering Sunday on March 30. Whilst John will not be bringing the next steam locomotive to our site, we will look forward to him returning as a life member in what is our 20th anniversary year of operations."

Mr Antell said: "It has been my pleasure to bring these heavy vintage locomotives to and from the Chinnor Railway over many years.

"I shall look forward to visiting the line in my retirement and travelling on the trains, and what could be better than sitting in the afternoon tea car enjoying a cream tea, and watching the steam lazily curling back over the train with fantastic views of the Chilterns all around you and the circling red kites as they follow the train."