Theresa May has expressed concern following indications that electrification of the Maidenhead to Marlow train line will not be going ahead in the near future. The Government’s electrification project will bring faster and more reliable trains along the Great Western line and it had been expected that the Thames Valley branch lines would also benefit. However, a recent report stated that it would not be ‘technically feasible’ for electrification to go ahead on the Marlow branch, raising questions about the future of the Henley branch as well.
The Department for Transport and Network Rail have consistently said that electrification of the branch lines would go ahead, allowing commuters in areas such as Furze Platt, Cookham and Wargrave to enjoy the benefits of the new electric trains. However, the Department for Transport’s recent response to a consultation on the next Great Western franchise stated that electrification on the Marlow branch could not go ahead before the end of the franchise in March 2019.
Theresa has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, to express concern and to ask for a clear timetable for electrification to go ahead on both the Marlow and Henley branches.
Commenting, Theresa said: “Electrification will bring benefits to passengers and it is important that commuters on the branch lines don’t miss out. I have consistently supported the electrification of the branch lines and the continuation of through-services from the branches to London Paddington. I am now pressing for a clear timetable for the electrification of both branch lines so local residents have certainty about the services they can expect in the future.”