An official report published by the Thames Valley Local Economic Partnership (LEP) has supported WLR’s view that the needs of not just Windsor but also Slough are best served by the proposed linking of the two lines and new station.
The report finds that all the alternatives to WLR for improving links between Windsor and Slough are all ‘poor value for money’. The only exception to this is a replacement bus service which is undeliverable for other reasons.
Assessment of the Windsor Link Railway was included in the report, at the request of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, but not quantitatively because it is being privately promoted and therefore no recommendation is reached.
In a letter introducing the report, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead also makes the following comments regarding WLR:
We feel that the benefits attributed to the proposed Windsor Link Railway scheme have been under-estimated, since it would cater for journeys beyond Staines. The report implies that there would be limited demand for rail travel between Staines and Slough. However, the parallel road route is one of the busiest transport corridors in the Royal Borough, with significant peak hour congestion. It is therefore likely that some level of mode shift could be achieved if the need for an interchange at Windsor were to be removed.
This fits with both WLR’s assessment and the high-level assessment of Network Rail, which concluded that the benefit to cost ratio was likely to be ‘greater than 2’, corresponding to ‘high value for money’ category in the Department for Transport assessment.
Back in October, WLR said that the views and aspirations of WLR, RBWM, Slough Council appeared to be aligning. There are tentative signs this continues.