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Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway carriage destroyed in suspected arson
A HISTORIC carriage at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway has been destroyed in a fire police are investigating as suspected arson.
At about 2am this morning a police helicopter spotted a fire near the private railway station, which is run by a registered charity.
Police and the fire service attended and an historic carriage, which was on railway sidings some distance away from the station, was destroyed by fire.
Chairman of the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Association, Roger Fagg said: "It is really very disappointing. We put a lot of effort into running the railway.
"It is very sad but we are not downhearted. We will carry on and run the railway and be our normal happy selves."
The charity has 1,000 members and 150 active volunteers. The railway station is in Station Road, Chinnor and runs steam and diesel services in the style of the former Great Western Railway at weekends.
The coach which was destroyed was built in the 1930s and is called a London Midland and Scottish Railway Observation Coach.
It came to Chinnor about 15 years ago but was previously used by senior executives to travel on the railway and see the line outside two large windows on the carriage.
Mr Fagg said it was quite rare and was due for restoration.
It was not one of the coaches used in the regular running of the railway, so the weekend timetable will go ahead as usual. He said: "It is sad because it is a heritage coach.
"What we are trying to do is preserve heritage for future generations.
"This is something which has clearly come to the end of the road."
Mr Fagg said the fire brigade was excellent and saved another carriage being damaged.
An investigation has been launched by police and officers are working closely with the charity to keep them fully informed.
Investigating officer PC Martin Davis said: "This railway is run entirely by volunteers so this incident has caused a great deal of upset.
"We are currently treating the incident as arson and would like to appeal to anyone who saw people acting suspiciously in the area of the railway station in the early hours of this morning, to come forward. I would also like to speak to anyone who has any further information which could assist our inquiry."
If you can help call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.