10:41AM, Tuesday 14 June 2016
The opening of a railway line connecting Maidenhead with High Wycombe has been under discussion – more than 40 years after it was closed.
Proposals to reopen the link were raised at a meeting of Wycombe District Council’s cabinet on Monday, June 6, as councillors debated how best to provide for the needs of a growing population.
Although the Marlow Branch Line allows travel from Maidenhead to Marlow and Bourne End, commuters have no dedicated rail link onwards to High Wycombe.
The plans, which would have to be put to a feasibility study, could see the old track between Bourne End and High Wycombe reinstated, which was decommissioned in 1970 following the advice of the Beeching Report.
Robert Latham, newsletter editor for the Marlow – Maidenhead Passengers’ Association (MMPA) praised councillors for having the discussion.
“It’s something that we’ve campaigned for for a long time,” he said.
“We believe it would relieve a lot of road congestion on Cookham Bridge because people would not have to drive to Maidenhead to be able to get to Paddington and West London.
“The exact form it would take, we don’t know – someone would have to do a study to say whether it would have the desired effect in a particular form.
“We’re not the only ones who think it’s desirable.”
And although he acknowledged the logistical difficulties of such an undertaking, he also hinted it might not be as tricky as some might imagine.
He added although building had taken place on parts of the original track bed, a revised scheme could simply go around it.
Aside from the immediate benefits such a project could bring, there are several other long-term considerations in play.
Crossrail is due to open in Maidenhead in 2019, providing direct services from Reading at the westernmost point of the new line, all the way through the city of London and as far east as Shenfield, in Essex.
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