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Charity railway centre to open after suspected arson attack
9:30am Saturday 28th July 2012 in Didcot
A CHARITY railway centre will open tomorrow without one of its historic train carriages after it was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.
About 45 firefighters from eight stations battled the blaze at the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Association in Chinnor.
The fire, which started on Thursday at about 2am, was spotted by a police helicopter.
The burnt-out carriage, pictured, was a London Midland and Scottish Railway carriage made in the 1930s and was used for track observation.
But charity chairman Roger Fagg said the fire would not affect the Sunday train rides as the carriage was on the sidings waiting to be sold for restoration.
But he said it was still a shame, adding: “It is quite rare, there are not many of them left.
“It is a loss to the Rail heritage movement and it’s lost to future generations now.”
Last year the charity, which has 11 historic trains, took about 16,000 people on rides. Pc Martin Davis, of Thame police station, said: “This railway is run entirely by volunteers, so this incident has caused a great deal of upset.”
Fire crews used water jets to prevent the blaze spreading to a nearby carriage and rolling stock.
Incident commander, station manager Marcus Reay, said: “Fire investigators are working with Thames Valley Police to establish the cause of the fire.”
Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.