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Opinion : Change the railway not the roads

| December 5, 2017

For a town to thrive in the modern world it needs to have good transport links.

Look at Wycombe. The M40 gives us links to London, Oxford and Birmingham. At High Wycombe railway station you can get trains to London Marylebone, Oxford, Birmingham, Aylesbury and the north. The High Wycombe Coachway at Handy Cross has connections to London Victoria, Oxford and Wolverhampton.

But look closely at the list of destinations and the same places keep cropping up, London, Oxford, Birmingham, etc….

However if you want to get to places like Maidenhead, Marlow, Reading and Slough then road is the only option. Whether it be by private motor vehicle or bus a trip to the aforementioned towns is likely to involve time spent in a traffic jam.

If only the railway line from Wycombe to Marlow, Bourne End and Maidenhead was still in existence. Just think what a benefit that rail link would be to High Wycombe.

For example we could get access to the soon to be opened Crossrail station at Maidenhead. Travelling to Marlow would be far quicker and hundreds of commuters could travel to work in Reading every day.

Sadly the rail link from Wycombe to Marlow was lost on Saturday 2nd May 1970.

A few days ago my good self happened to read an article on a national news site headlined ‘Rail routes axed under 1960s Beeching cuts could reopen to ease overcrowding‘.

Apparently modern thinking seems to indicate that many of the routes closed by Beeching should be re-opened indeed the Transport Secretary has said he wants to identify which routes would boost the economy, encourage house-building and ease overcrowding.

Well, surely re-opening the line from Wycombe to Marlow would be a good start even though it wasn’t a Beeching cut?

Just look at how much money has been wasted on messing up the roads in Wycombe under the guise of a ‘Masterplan’. The wasted money could have been put towards getting the rail line re-opened to link Wycombe to Crossrail.

To get the rail line open again needs vision, determination and positivity. Sadly over the years I fear the attempts to re-open the line have bee half-hearted and timid.

Some say any new rail line should be ‘light rail’, others baulk at the number of buildings that have been built over the old trackbed. Its the softies who peddled these views who have given those opposed to the re-opening the perfect ammunition to stop it.

I say let’s have a proper ‘heavy rail’ link and serve compulsory purchase notices on the owners of buildings in the way then demolish them.

The sooner Wycombe is linked to Marlow, Bourne End, Maidenhead and Crossrail the better.

Let’s see direct rail services re-open from High Wycombe to Marlow soon.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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