The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has published the results of its statutory consultation conducted last summer.

This found that respondents supported the railway by 72% to just 28% opposed (or 64% to 25% including neutrals). The normal health warnings should be applied given that this is a consultation rather than a survey. It is, however, in line with other surveys.

The council said:

The reasons given for supporting the link included:

  • Improve business and tourism
  • Reduction in car usage and relieve congestion on roads
  • Improved connectivity, saving cost and time
  • It would take pressure off the Paddington line
  • Makes sense to make a more efficient public transport system a priority

The reasons for concerns and objections against linking the two railway lines included:

  • Too expensive
  • There would be big disruption during the work
  • No business case
  • Adverse effect on the historic character of Windsor and the environment
  • The effect on surrounding villages such as Datchet of more trains at the crossing
  • Not enough facts and evidence

Many of the objections appear to arise from misunderstandings of the scheme so WLR expects that public support to be even higher as these are addressed. For example, the railway is proposed as primarily privately funded so the cost does not fall on taxpayers and the business case is therefore a private risk.  The tunnel portals are away from the main thoroughfares of Windsor so disruption can be kept to a minimum and anyway the main works could be completed within a year.  In the coming weeks, WLR will publish drawings showing how the historic character and views of the castle and river will be enhanced. On Datchet, the proposal is to reduce level crossing downtime as well as providing direct trains to Slough, greatly improving the quality of life for village residents.

The council paper is available here.