The WLR will double the frequency of trains to Waterloo and, by connecting up with faster trains at Staines, knock up to 15 minutes off the journey time to London, with trains every 15 minutes. You’ll also be able to get direct to London Paddington, Heathrow and Slough.
Upgraded signals or even a new underpass at Datchet will significantly reduce traffic congestion, which is currently suffocating these villages with poor air quality. This could also be an opportunity to further improve Datchet’s flood defences.
Making better use of rail enables economic growth, providing employment for local people and saving local shops, without generating more car traffic. This means that these villages can have their futures assured by better sustainability.
Datchet has big problems with traffic congestion, greatly exacerbated by the existing level crossing. Queuing traffic is the worst for air quality and not only does this impair residents’ enjoyment of the beautiful village green but air pollution is known to be a major cause of health problems. Datchet was also flooded via the railway line in 2014. Could the Windsor Link Railway be an opportunity for improving this situation?
One possibility is for an underpass, for which there would be two leading options: one is directly in the line of the High Street and the other is the other side of the station, using The Avenue and Manor House Lane as access roads. Both will be tight but possible. Neither will impact on the centre of the village visually. If they prove undeliverable for any reason WLR could fall back on upgrading the train signals to achieve higher throughput with less level crossing downtime, although this will negate the safety and flood defence benefits of more substantial works. A fourth option might be to put the rail line in a tunnel, which would be much more expensive but offer noise advantages.
WLR has not done any detailed work on any of these at this stage as first we have to answer the in-principle question, is it worth looking into? Can we potentially reduce congestion in Datchet, save the village green, and provide a better train service? If the council answers yes to that, then we can then do the designs to see how we can best meet the requirements of local people.