The Windsor Link Railway has been featured in Modern Railways magazine.

This would make rail a more attractive option for visiting Windsor from the capital. At present, the town is in danger of being strangled by the traffic problems presented by the seven million visitors that come each year to see the castle and other attractions. Tourist coaches, in particular, are a nuisance: they line up in serried ranks in a coach park alongside the Great Western viaduct. On my visit, one of the hottest days of the year, air quality and noise were appalling, as most of the drivers left their engines running to keep the air conditioning on while their charges were off visiting the castle.

It is at this point on my tour of the town that my guide, George Bathurst, gets really fired up. As a lifelong Windsor resident, he is passionate about what the link could do for civic space in the town. First, many of the coaches would be eliminated as rail travel from central London would be so much better and this would tempt international travellers to the castle to use electric trains rather than coach tours, which would enhance air quality. A spending boost could be expected: tourists on day excursions by train would be likely to splash out more cash in the town than do coach tourists on two-hour ‘tick of the sights’ stops.

Thus there would be a much-reduced requirement for coach parking under the WLR plans. Remaining parking would be put underground, beneath the local park (Alexandra Gardens) &emdash; freeing up existing surface car parks for redevelopment. Meanwhile, to the east, putting the South Western line in a tunnel on the approach to Windsor would open up the Home Park to the river, with a big amenity gain…

Altogether, the urban reshaping he proposed would free up some 21 acres for residential use – generating between £500 million and £1 billion, more than sufficient to finance the railway scheme. On top of that, central Windsor would become a much more attractive place to live and visit, with the oppressive coach park removed and riverside vistas opened up.

In transport terms, Phase 1 would join the economically important M3 and M4 corridors, creating new rail journey opportunities for millions of people in these economically vital areas of the UK. A park and ride station is planned on the route just north of the M4 at the current tip site at Chalvey.

Modern Railways is available from good newsagents and online here.

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