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Others - Paddington line review 1

The only train of the day from Paddington at Princes Risborough

30/8/07 - London Paddington to Princes Risborough 

Cost of ticket £10.00  - Single (from Paddington to Princes Risborough)

Dept Paddington  11.11  arrive Princes Risborough 12.13.  Journey time 1 hour 2 mins

Distance: 12 miles (to West Ruislip)  Weather: cloudy

Train type: 2 car  Class 165/0 Network Turbo DMU  (Double track most of the way)

Railway company: Chiltern Railways

Frequency of trains - one a day 

This section of line between London Paddington and South Ruislip, (where it meets up with the main line out of London's Marylebone to Birmingham) must be one of the most unusual lines on the network today. There is just one scheduled train in each direction on this section of the old Great Western Railway line which ran trains from Paddington to Birkenhead Woodside via Birmingham Snow Hill in the heyday of steam. Every weekday a Chiltern Railways train leaves Gerrards Cross at 10.01 and arrives at Paddington at 10.43. It then leaves Paddington at 11.11 and goes as far north as Princes Risborough where it terminates. Today I was taking the train out of Paddington all the way to Princes Risbrough where I was going to go on the branch to Aylesbury, before returning to Marylebone.

I thought there might be problems with using this train and I was right when I asked for a single to Princes Risborough at paddington's ticket office. The clerk said, "You should be at Marylebone" until I informed her that there was actaully a train leaving for Princes Risborough from Paddington at 11.11!!! In the end my ticket just said "London Terminals" which was a bit of a disappointment for so unique a journey. As I thought the train was tucked away from the mainline platforms on platform 14, where the tube trains run from. There was some activity on the platform, but when the train pulled away it was obvious that I was the only person on the train, quite a weird experience, considering it was the middle of the day and not last thing at night. Almost immediately the quard swooped into my carriage to check my ticket, no doubt being shocked to actually see a passenger on this ghost train (almost!) I asked him the reason for this train existing and he replied something about using the line once a day so that engineering work can be carried out. Maybe the marketing people at Chiltern Railways could market these trains as something like, "Have a whole train all to yourself" or "Dare you take a ride on the 11.11 from Paddington"!!!