An notable feature of the May 2017 timetable change is withdrawal of the very last of the first generation diesel multiple units still in use on the national network. These are the two Class 121 “bubble cars” which for the past 14 years Chiltern Railways has used on peak-time weekday shuttle services between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.
Increasing maintenance costs means that their time is up and, after the final services on Friday, 19 May 2017, the two celebrity units 121020 (W55020) and 121034 (W55034) will be offered for sale to preservation groups, from whom there is likely to be a great deal of interest.
On Thursday, 11 May, eight days before their final duties on the 7.5 mile branch line, services were already attracting large numbers of enthusiasts and were being worked by green-liveried 121034, while blue-liveried 121020 remained on depot at Aylesbury (pictured above as 66720 passes on a spoil train for Calvert) with engine problems.
This is a pleasantly rural line with plenty of photo spots along the way and at the two intermediate stations, Little Kimble (pictured above) and Monks Risborough (pictured left) while riding behind the driver, with a clear view of the line ahead, was every bit as much of a thrill as it had been in my youthful train spotting years!