London Transport say the last Chesham Shuttle will run during the afternoon of Saturday 11 December 2010, when it will be replaced by the new S8 trains. Clive Foxell* said, “The S8 trains will all run through to London and so the Shuttle service will end after some 118 years. Engineering works, strikes and snow permitting, LT hope to celebrate the event and mark the occasion with a special heritage train.”
Naturally, most local people think that the Shuttle between Chesham and Chalfont & Latimer has run since the line to Chesham was opened in 1889. However in those days Chesham was intended to be on the mainline, going on to Tring and the North as part of Sir Edward Watkin’s plan to link Manchester and Paris by rail. So the early Chesham trains went straight to London. On the first day two local lads successfully made a bet that they could make a day trip to France.
Unfortunately, Watkin’s line to Tring did not materialize and instead he extended his Met line from Chalfont on to Aylesbury in 1892, and eventually to Manchester. So from 1892, Chesham became a branchline with a Shuttle train providing the service – and now that era ends.
The Last Shuttle ceremony will be at 12.30pm on Saturday 11 December and Clive believes that LT are hoping to also run a heritage train to mark the event. There will be a speech by the head of the Met Line – and Clive will speak on the history and significance of the Shuttle to Chesham.
Our photo taken in 1989 shows Gordon Dixon of the Railway Users Group and the then Mayor of Chesham, the late Peter Gibson.
*Dr Clive Foxell CBE FREng is a historian and author of books such as: Chesham Shuttle 1996; Chesham Branch Album 1998; The Met & GC Joint Line trilogy – Story of the Met & GC Joint Line 2000; Memories of the Met & GC Joint Line 2002; Rails to Metro-Land 2005; and his most recent work The Metropolitan Line: London’s First Underground Railway. Clive has written a commemorative article on the last Shuttle for the December issue of yourChesham. His most recent Metropolitan Line book (which includes a lot about the Shuttle) is advertised by Chesham Waterstones as their best selling local book of 2010.