With High Speed 2 potentially changing the face of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it is important to acknowledge the local role that Chiltern Railways plays in a less visible way through this beautiful landscape. This album is a photographic record of Chiltern Railways services through the area in 2014.
The company operating as Chiltern Railways in 2014 is the franchise holder following the transfer from British Rail in 1996; it covers three routes across the Chilterns. The main line from Birmingham enters the area near Princes Risborough and continues south via High Wycombe to London. A terminus at Aylesbury Vale Parkway is the start of a more easterly route via Aylesbury and Wendover, before joining the main line south of Rickmansworth. Finally, a single-track route provides a link between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.
The main line, and the Princes Risborough-to-Aylesbury line, follow the route of the historical Great Central System, part owned by Great Western Railways, whereas the easterly line was originally part of the Metropolitan Railway, also part of the Great Central System. The Great Central Railway Company came into being in 1897 in anticipation of the opening in 1899 of the route to London. Most of the route was closed between 1966 and 1969 under the Beeching axe.
The Metropolitan Railway served London from 1863, its main line heading northwest from the City to what were to become the Middlesex Suburbs. From Aylesbury, now a terminus, it would have been possible to travel onwards to Waddesdon Manor, Quainton Road, Calvert, Verney Junction, Buckingham, Brackley and beyond.
From Princes Risborough it was possible to travel in five directions: south to Paddington (and then Marylebone), north to Banbury and Birmingham, west via Thame to Oxford, south-west on the branch line via Chinnor to Watlington, and north-east to Aylesbury.