Transport Group Aim
To examine the past, present, and proposed Wycombe transport infrastructure, and encourage changes that improve its efficiency and effectiveness for riders, drivers and pedestrians, while protecting the environment. This is challenging in the light of the high level of car ownership in South Bucks., and the continual pressure to expand the town. Read more
The Bucks and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have made significant funds available to improve the layout at Bourne End to provide two trains per hour all day between Maidenhead and Marlow. Berks LEP and WDC are also contributing. In addition WDC have funded a business case study into re-connecting Bourne End with High Wycombe. This is a long term aim of the HWS.
The LEPs are part of a new government strategy to promote economic development and growth, and will now set the agenda for the Local Transport Authority in our case BCC. The economic benefits of a reliable frequent non-road link between Aylesbury and the Thames Valley have been persuasive here.
Hooray for the Oxford link
One of the biggest innovations to make High Wycombe an even better public transport hub is the new rail connection to Oxford. This opened in 2015 with the September timetable. Trains run from Marylebone to High Wycombe, then to Bicester where, via a new curve, they run on an upgraded existing line to Islip and into a new station called Oxford Parkway next to Water Eaton park-and-ride. This is one of the existing Oxford park-and-ride sites with frequent buses to all parts of Oxford and the Oxford Hospitals. A new station, Bicester Town, on this route is next door to the Bicester Village shopping centre, a very popular destination.
The 100mph trains do the journey in about 35 minutes.
Trains now continue to the main Oxford station which has been re-built and enlarged with extra platforms.
Planning work is underway to vastly upgrade the rail line from High Wycombe to Aylesbury. The section from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury is very slow with single track and that limits the frequency of service. This route will eventually join High Wycombe to the east–west rail line north of Aylesbury, which will link Oxford to Milton Keynes and Bedford and eventually Cambridge. This line is in the process of being re-opened.
The vexed question on everyone’s lips is when will they be fixed? It is important that potholes are reported to Transport for Bucks; the easiest way is via the website (see link below) – remember if a pothole has been reported and not fixed in a reasonable time TfB can be liable for damage to vehicles. http://www.transportforbucks.net/BCC-report-a-problem.aspx All motorists in High Wycombe would place potholes as their main concern with the state of our roads. The situation is recognised by Bucks CC as their first priority for road repair. However the ability to patch up potholes and resurface roads seems to be losing the battle with the rate at which potholes are appearing, particularly since much of the temporary patching work only lasts a few months. Many road users have reported damage to tyres, wheels and suspension but compensation will not be approved if Bucks CC has not been made aware of the pothole and/or the contractor has not noted the repair. It is important therefore, that Transport for Bucks (TfB) is informed about all potholes considered to be a danger to motorists. This will not only help support compensation claims but also speed up the repair by identifying roads where potholes are a danger to traffic.
The effect on the flow of traffic caused by the proliferation of traffic signals in High Wycome has been studied by the HWS TG and is under constant review with Bucks CC. Over the last 8 years the HWS has been working with Bucks CC in an attempt to remove redundant traffic signals in order to improve traffic flow along the major routes. Users of the A40 London Rd during peak periods will know that the additional signals installed at many of the junctions, previously controlled by mini-roundabouts, has added considerably to the congestion along this route. A similar situation occurs on the A404 Marlow Hill where the installation of signals at School Close and the poor phasing of the signals at the Sports Centre creates a blockage of the Marlow Hill from 0745 until 0845 during the school term periods of the year. New software is being installed to help to improve traffic flow but the results so far have not been very encouraging. The HWS is liaising with Bucks CC regarding traffic control along these routes, and the phasing of signals at other junctions, which we feel need to be changed to speed up the flow of traffic.
Shared Space – Love it or Hate it?
Mick Lewis’s article entitled “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, in the Spring 2018 edition of the High Wycombe Society Newsletter hit a chord with many readers, baffled by recent road layout decisions and modern street design enhancements covered by the umbrella term “shared space”. For those readers wanting to know about the subject these are the links to reference documents consulted during Mick’s exploration of the subject:
- The High Wycombe Town Centre Masterplan which gives details of the various planned road enhancements is at: www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/transport-and-roads/strategic-economic-plan/high-wycombe-town-centre-masterplan/
- Early government guidance published in October 2011 in document LTN/1-11 can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3873/ltn-1-11.pdf
- Guidelines for local authority planners in the form of Manual for Streets can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/manual-for-streets
- Its sequel Manual for Streets 2 is at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/manual-for-streets-2
- Lord Holmes’ report concerning shared spaces can be found at: www.theihe.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Holmes-Report-on-Shared-Space-.pdf
- A link to the review document entitled “Creating better streets: inclusive and accessible places” published by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) in January 2018 is included within the launch article at: http://www.ciht.org.uk/en/media-centre/news/index.cfm/ciht-launches-creating-better-streets-an-industry-review-of-shared-space
At the end of 2017, WDC and BCC consulted on proposals for changes to the road layout for Queen Victoria Road and Easton Street. These will have the effect of making both roads 2-way again.
Transport, High Wycombe and History
Railways were invented in Britain around 1830, and quickly spread across this country and the world. High Wycombe’s first railway was opened in 1854, thereby adding to the town’s attractions with important improved access, by linking it to the Great Western Main Line at Maidenhead. That link was broken in 1970, when the 5-mile section to Bourne End was closed. Today’s rail service to London Marylebone opened in 1905. The population of High Wycombe has much increased since 1830 and especially since 1970, but there has been no significant expansion of the transport infrastructure since 1970, other than improving the east/west rail services to London and Birmingham (1992 onwards). Also, in the last twenty years there has been a loss of several thousand jobs, giving rise to much extra daily travel for work, but High Wycombe has fewer rail connections now than it did in 1905. Read more..