11:00AM, Friday 31 January 2020
The Royal Borough will be lobbying the government to restore the railway link between Maidenhead and High Wycombe.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has launched the new investment to reverse the controversial Beeching cuts, proposed by British Rail chief Dr Richard Beeching in 1963.
The cuts ended passenger services on around a third of the rail network, closing more than 2,300 stations and up to 5,000 miles of UK track.
It remains doubtful as to whether the Bourne End to Wycombe line, which closed in 1970, will reopen as part of the plans.
But Royal Borough council leader Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) told the Advertiser this week that the council will be ‘formally writing to the Secretary of State promoting the restoration of the full Maidenhead to High Wycombe line’.
Mr Shapps said: “Many communities still live with the scars that came from the closure of their local railway more than five decades ago.
“Investing in transport links is essential to levelling up access to opportunities across the country.”
The transport secretary has invited MPs, local authorities and community groups across England to come forward with proposals on how they could use funding to reinstate axed services.
A total of £300,000 has been committed to an ‘Ideas Fund’ to start the process.
The government will listen to proposals from across England and Wales and look to prioritise projects with the greatest potential.
Projects will be ranked against a range of criteria including their viability, the number of people set to benefit and economic benefits.
The government has given funding to reopen two lines in northern England.
Richard Porter, chairman of the Marlow and Maidenhead Passengers Association, said: “Certainly we want to see the Bourne End to High Wycombe line reinstated but it is in the second tier of candidates for reopening.
“It would not be straightforward because of building over the line, particularly at the former station sites.
“The Wycombe line was not recommended for closure in the Beeching report but services were deliberately run down by British Rail and the line closed in 1970.
“[Wycombe District Council] carried out a study into reopening the line. Unfortunately this seems to have been lost in the local government reorganisation in Buckinghamshire.
“With everything now being run from Aylesbury our line is a bit remote. We shall of course keep pushing for the line to be reopened.”
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