08:59AM, Wednesday 22 June 2016
Plans to reopen the old railway link between Bourne End and High Wycombe should be 'very high' on the list of transport priorities for Buckinghamshire, according to the chairman of Wooburn and Bourne End Parish Council.
Cllr Sue Wagner was speaking following discussions at the latest Wycombe District Council cabinet meeting on Monday, June 6, over reinstating the link.
"I think it would be an amazing thing to do," she said. "It would take a lot of traffic off the roads for a start.
"I'm from this area and I remember the line being open and it taking pupils to school in High Wycombe.
"I was living in Beaconsfield at the time and I think it was a very short-sighted decision."
The line was closed in 1970, following the findings of the Beeching Report.
The prospect of it being reopened was raised while councillors debated the contents of a new draft local plan for Wycombe District, which is due to be published at the end of June.
A list of objectives with the report presented to the cabinet lists improving 'strategic transport connectivity with the Thames Valley'.
A rail link between High Wycombe and Bourne End would allow services to link up with trains already running between Maidenhead and Bourne End on the Marlow branch line.
This would also allow access to Crossrail, which is scheduled to open in Maidenhead in 2019, providing direct services from Reading, at the westernmost point of the new line, through the City of London and as far east as Shenfield, in Essex.
Following the discussions, Wycombe District Council said a feasibility study would need to be commissioned before proposals could be progressed further.
This would require consultation with Buckinghamshire County Council and the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership.
In a statement, it added: "There are clearly many local issues that would need resolution - some of the route of the railway has been built on; how to deal with the crossing at Bourne End; what would happen to the strategic cycle and bridleway that is being established?
"All these would need to be addressed if the project were to take place - but the first step is to establish if the new strategic context of the two rail routes in the north [HS2] and south [Crossrail] of the county give a business case to justify the project."
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