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The Chiltern line through Gerrards Cross opens again
20 August 2005

This page follows earlier pages which you can reach from a link at the bottom of this one.

Once the tunnel was declared safe for trains to run through work began to replace the missing track, replace signal cables and to prove the system.  A full timetable was reinstated on Saturday 20 August.  By a strange stroke of fate, the first train on Saturday was not the first public service train the go through the tunnel.  The service to Birmingham through Aylesbury was disrupted on Friday morning due to signalling failure between Amersham and Aylesbury caused by a lightening strike. The temporary timetable by this route was replaced by a temporary temporary timetable via Gerrards Cross, but this only lasted for a short time.  Thus the first service train from Gerrards Cross, the 05:45 on Saturday morning, no longer held an attraction - if it ever did at that time in the morning!
The 13:50 from Marylebone to Birmingham, first stop Bicester, emerges from the tunnel at around 14:10 on Saturday under the control of a Temporary Speed Restriction to 50 mph.  Over the top of the train can be seen the new structure that has taken over the load from the old Packhorse Road bridge, and to the right the cabin that supports the radio mast which replaces the previous one attached to the bridge parapet..

The 14:03 from High Wycombe draws to a stand in Gerrards Cross.  It was running just a little late and was ready to depart at about 14:25.  The TSR sign limits speeds to 30 (loco hauled) and 50 (DMU).  Whilst the railway was closed, tunnel segments were inserted under Packhorse Road bridge on foundations that effectively replace the piers of the old bridge.  A small portion of the Tesco shed frame is visible at the right of the archway opening.

By the Tuesday evening before the reopening, the underlying ballast was in place, the down line relaid and the up line making progress.  A picture in the 'Makesafe' section showed two stacks of short lengths of rail here, but they were not used.

Wednesday morning sees both tracks relaid and fully ballasted. This picture has not been cropped so as to leave a view of the retaining wall to the south of the line and the cutting side behind it.  The garden behind the hedge at the top has had the benefit of heaps of scalpings being pushed through the hedge.

A little later on Wednesday morning the tamper is seen at work.


The driver's eye view is now very different from what was seen on the evening of June 30.  There have been some excellent photographs published from this viewpoint in the days following the collapse, but one of mine, not of the highest quality, is included as a reminder of the view seven weeks previously.

The view from a train as it goes through the gap between the two parts of the tunnel shows the retaining wall on the north side of the cutting.  At the top are the site offices of Costain who were building the Tesco shed itself.  They stand barely used and looking somewhat forelorn!  If you had looked on earlier days at the wooden fence at top right, you would quite often have seen my face and camera poking over the top!

The pilotmen will no longer need to join the driver at High Wycombe for the single line journey to Beaconsfield and back, nor at West Ruislip for the trip to Denham.

The buses will no longer have to park tidily in Gerrards Cross station car park.


This ticket took me on a train, not a bus as it would have done for the previous 49 days.

Monday morning the 08:01 from Gerrards Cross attracts a good crowd.  Note the Temporary Speed Restriction to 30/50 has gone, so line speed of 75 mph rules again.  Everything is back to normal.

The 'Collapse' page serves as the focus for all the events since the tunnel collapse on June 30 and you may return to it here.

Page constrained to 1024 pixels December 2014, otherwise unchanged.