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Opinion : What about the rail link between Wycombe and Marlow?

| July 27, 2021

The ‘Marlow and Maidenhead lines’ sign at High Wycombe railway station. (Archive picture)

It seems there are calls for a new rail link between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.

Indeed that’s according to an article that appeared in the news section of this website recently headlined ‘Buckinghamshire Council calls for the building of a rail link between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes‘.

But what about the much talked about restoration of the rail link between High Wycombe and Marlow that was closed in the early 1970’s?

If a proper mainline rail link was recreated between High Wycombe and Marlow and the track from Marlow to Maidenhead upgraded then it would give Wycombe access to Crossrail. Surely this would be a better investment of public money rather than providing a rail link to Milton Keynes which is already served by InterCity services on the West Coast Mainline?

The aforementioned news article also calls for the dualling of the track between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury. As far as my good self is aware this section of line has always been single track so it’s likely there would be engineering challenges to dual the section of line.

My good self fears the calls for extra rail links to Aylesbury are actually exposing the poor rail connectivity the town has in relation to other towns of importance in Buckinghamshire.

It takes around 40 minutes to travel from High Wycombe to London Marylebone by train (some trains take just 27 minutes) with around 114 trains a day. However the average journey time by train between Aylesbury and London Marylebone is 1 hour and 2 minutes, with around 73 trains per day.

The sad reality is that despite Aylesbury being the County Town of Buckinghamshire the rail connectivity is poor. Aylesbury doesn’t even have a motorway just ‘A’ road and ‘country lane’ connectivity at best.

In my opinion rather than flighting a losing battle spending £million’s of public money trying to give rail connectivity to an out of the way town why not do the sensible thing and make Wycombe the County Town? Wycombe has the transport links and infrastructure all read to go.

Sadly in the recent re-organisation of local government in Buckinghamshire control was centralised in Aylesbury. Indeed Wycombe lost its democratic voice and doesn’t even have a Town Council to speak up for the town. I fear that in the democratic respect Wycombe has been ‘unlevelled’.

If there needs to be better rail links to Aylesbury they surely an extension of the London Underground would be more sensible. Indeed at one time Aylesbury was served by the Metropolitan line. Of course there is also a case to be made for extending the Central Line from West Ruislp to Wycombe….

Do you agree with me that the most important rail line to be restored in Buckinghamshire would be the link between Wycombe and Marlow? Most of the track bed is there and the land that has been built on could be regained through compulsory purchase as reconstruction of the former line would surely be in the public interest?

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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