PLANS to resurrect the Maidenhead to High Wycombe train line with a modern ultra light railway have been dealt a blow after transport chiefs said it was not financially “viable” at present.

Moves by The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) to reconnect the towns in Berskhire and Buckinghamshire were revealed exclusively in the Free Press on August 7.

Cllr John Stretton and Chris Donnelly, political assistant to RBWM leader cllr David Burbage have been working on a proposal restore the railway line between Bourne End and High Wycombe, which was shut in 1970.

The proposal would re-establish the service which used to run through Cookham, Wooburn Green and Loudwater and also enabled passengers from Marlow to get directly to High Wycombe.

Mr Donnelly said after looking at research conducted by The High Wycombe Society, which has been promoting the idea since 1994, the council would be interested in a scheme similar to the Docklands Light Railway in London.

The society's transport spokesman Dr Elsa Woodward said the old track is largely intact with its own tunnel under the M40.

Dr Woodward said the reinstatement was “vital for the health of the area's economy” and ultra light rail would be a quiet and energy efficient option.

However, Buckinghamshire County Council, said although it wants to safeguard old railway trackbed and has long term ambitions for public transport it does not believe it would be possible to fund it currently.

BCC spokesman Richard Wells said it had considered the rail line reinstatement when the High Wycombe Regional Coachway and park and ride scheme was discussed.

He said: “At that stage it was not considered a viable 'next best' alternative in terms of delivery of the scheme in the timescales required for the coachway scheme.

Mr Wells said: “However, the county council is working to establish a route improvement line along the old railway trackbed, which would safeguard areas of land that might be needed in the future, and expects this to move ahead in the coming year.

“The most likely use of the trackbed that survives in the near future is for walking and cycling.

“There remains a long term aspiration for public transport use, such as ultra light rail, along the track bed but funding and an appropriate business case would need to be made, and at present this would not be viable.”

The old route is discussed in Wycombe District Council's most recent public consultation document - Imagine the Future part 5.

Light rail is among three options put forward for the safeguarding of the railway alignment, whilst the fourth is to cease protecting it for potential transport use.