The Cookham Plan - Transport and Traffic





8   Public Transport - Report Summary


The TTWG considers the overarching requirement is for Cookham to be provided with an adequate level of public transport facilities.


In general, the TTWG considers that the current level of service, provided by the public transport operators, offers a only a very basic level, barely adequate to local needs and, with the exception of the limited M1 bus service, provides absolutely no coverage to Cookham Dean.  We believe that the bus services do not provide a frequency of service that will encourage people to use public transport instead of cars.


The TTWG considers that Cookham’s interests in maintaining adequate public transport services can best be met by active co-operation and involvement with the Marlow-Maidenhead Passengers’ Association (MMPA) which is a long standing and respected pressure group and has ongoing business-like relationships with the transport providers.  With this in mind, we recommend formal representation in the MMPA by the Cookham Society and also the assignment of a Parish Councillor to local transport policy.


In this report we describe the public transport provision for Cookham and how this matches expectations.  We also identify specific potential threats to service provision and make recommendations to mitigate these threats.


In Cookham there are two forms of public transport:


Train services

Bus services


There is also a taxi service, which regularly uses Cookham station as a pickup and drop down point.


Additional transport facilities are provided by a variety of schemes, supported by voluntary organisations and the Borough.  These include the Borough Taxi Voucher programme, the People to Places and the Cookham Voluntary Services schemes.


Recreational river transport is provided along the Thames during the summer season.


8.1   Summary of Recommendations


The following list summarises our recommendations.  We describe in later sections the background to these issues and our findings, as well as a more detailed explanation of the recommendation.




#1: Cookham and the MMPA

Formal representation in the MMPA by the Cookham Society and also the assignment of a Parish Councillor to handle local transport policy matters.



#2: Rail service reliability

Lobby First Great Western for better and reliable connections at Maidenhead



#3: The Bourne End viaduct

Lobby First Great Western for a full programme of maintenance and decoration of the viaduct.



#4: Community Railways

Maintain vigilance of any resurgence of the Department of Transport Community Railway scheme.



#5: Crossrail

Maintain vigilance and review the emerging plans for Cross Rail and provide a rapid response strategy to Network Rail on any adverse impact on the branch line.



#6: Buses – new contracts

Ensure that Cookham’s local transport bus requirements are raised during the re-tendering process, which is already underway.



#7: Transport hub

Recommend that this proposal is not pursued.  {the Parish Council, however, wishes to carry out a feasibility study into this proposal}



#8: Bus service & Train co-ordination

No further action on this topic should be undertaken unless Arriva ceases its commercial operation of Route-37, on the Berkshire segment.


8.2   Objectives


The TTWG defined the following objectives:


To identify potential improvements in rail and bus services (possibly supplemented by an on-demand taxi service from the station).

a)      To estimate how the Crossrail project will impact on rail services.

b)      To establish whether rail and bus services can be co-ordinated.

c)      To try to find out whether FGW intends to introduce parking fees at Cookham and whether there are concerns over the viability of the Maidenhead-Marlow line.

d)      To establish whether there should be a “transport hub” outside Cookham railway station.


The TTWG believes that these objectives should be viewed within the general context of the provision of adequate public transport services to Cookham. With this in mind, the Group established contacts with all the major service providers as well as the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) and the MMPA.


8.3   Findings - Current Services


Provision of public transport to Cookham is currently as follows:


8.3.1       Train services:

Rail services to and from Cookham are provided on the Maidenhead to Marlow branch line and are operated by First Great Western.   The First Great Western franchise, awarded by the Department for Transport (DfT) commenced in April 2006 and is contracted to run for seven years, plus a possible additional three years.                        Services

Currently, FGW provides an “each-way” hourly service along the line from Maidenhead to Marlow on a daily basis with a slightly reduced timetable on Sundays.  This service is referred to as the “Marlow Donkey".  Onward journeys towards London or Reading require a transfer at Maidenhead, although a “through” service to London Paddington is provided at peak times on weekday mornings with “through” return services operating at peak times in the late afternoons.



“Marlow Donkey” service

First train from Cookham to Maidenhead

Last train from Maidenhead to Cookham

First train from Cookham to Marlow

Last train from Marlow to Cookham

Monday to Friday
















“Through” service:


From Cookham to Paddington

From Paddington to Cookham








We note that three early morning weekday trains from Maidenhead to Bourne End pass though Cookham (at approximately 05:55, 06:38 and 07:17) without stopping, due to platform length restrictions.  This means that there is no service between Cookham and Bourne End between the 05:33 and 07:49 services – a gap of more than 2 hours!  However, after discussion with the station manager, we believe that this is not causing inconvenience for Cookham passengers.                        Facilities

Cookham Station provides a booking office, waiting room and toilet facilities.  However, these are only open during the morning periods:





Monday to Friday









Limited parking is provided for rail passengers, currently free of charge.  A local taxi service provides a collection service outside the station on a booking basis.


A public telephone booth is not provided within the station buildings or immediate adjacent areas, however a phone booth is available located across the level crossing at the entrance to the Station Car Park.                        Service Quality

First Great Western’s published performance figures for the period from 25th May to 21st June 2008 are shown below.


London -Thames Valley Service



Actual Performance



Target Performance



Trigger Percentage




Note that these figures are for the London-Thames Valley service sector of the FGW zone and not specifically those of the Maidenhead to Marlow branch line.  However, it does show shortfalls in punctuality, which is particularly critical to Cookham passengers scheduling connections at Maidenhead.

In particular, we are aware that the technical problems associated with the points at Bourne End cause many delays and cancellations, despite point switching having been recently converted from manual to electrical operation.

Returning journeys from Paddington are also hampered by poor scheduling which can require passengers to deliberately start their journeys 15 minutes earlier to guarantee a connection at Maidenhead.  Together with poor and inconsistent signage, as well as the inconvenience of a long (and often last minute) walk to the dilapidated platforms 13/14, the general perception is of a run down service compared with the more “glamorous” facilities offered to the long distance expresses and the Heathrow bound trains






Commuting to Paddington

Additional criticism concerns synchronisation with London bound trains during the commuter time of day.  Frequently, trains from Cookham arrive at Maidenhead only for passengers to watch the scheduled connection to London already leaving from platform 4.  Sadly, some commuters are now even travelling to Beaconsfield to use the Chiltern Line as the preferred route into London


Commuting between Maidenhead and Paddington is not pleasant.  Peak-time services between Maidenhead and Paddington operate above their seat capacity with a seating format of three seats on one side of the aisle and two on the other.  Seats are frequently narrower in width than their occupants (this is not meant to be a criticism, implied or otherwise, of the occupants).  Standing is routine.  The on-train environment is noisy.


Almost all trains between Maidenhead and Paddington run on the relief (slow) line and take approximately 34 minutes.  Consequently, trains from Cookham to Paddington (and vice versa) are scheduled as approximately forty five minute journeys.  In comparison, the fewer non-stopping high speed trains between Maidenhead and Paddington run on the fast line and provide a 20 minute journey.  Alas, the branch line connections between Cookham and Maidenhead rarely synchronise with these faster trains.  The relatively few “faster” Cookham-Paddington trains, stopping at fewer intermediate stations, still run on the relief line and are routinely held up when slower 'all stops' trains run late.


The Maidenhead-Paddington service is inferior to the Reading-Paddington service; where trains run on the fast line, travel time is very similar to Maidenhead-Paddington.  These are much more frequent, the seat format is two seats either side of the aisle and the on-train environment is much quieter.  We attach a recent report in the Daily Telegraph (and reported elsewhere in the press) which reports the 7:28 am from Bourne End to Paddington as one of the 10 most overcrowded services in the Country.


8.3.2             Bus services

Cookham is served by a variety of routes, however, the vast majority of bus passenger needs are met via the Arriva Route-37 (High Wycombe, Bourne End, Maidenhead) which passes through Cookham Village and Cookham Rise.  Additional services are provided by Courtney Coaches under the auspices of the RBWM.


We have been informed that the Courtney Coaches Contract is up for renewal next year (2009) with tenders due out in July for contract start in January.  It is understood that RBWM is using Peter Brett Associates (PBA) as consultants.  The TTWG recommends that, via the Parish Council and the Cookham Society, Cookham’s local transport bus requirements are raised during this tender procurement


8.3.3             Services



Arriva operates this service as an extension to the Route-35 (High Wycombe to Bourne End) service, which operates under registration from Buckinghamshire County Council.  The Bourne End to Maidenhead leg of Route-37 is operated by Arriva as a commercial operation and receives no direct subsidy from RBWM.  The route passes over Cookham Bridge, along the High Street, past the Railway Station, along Lower Road and then along Whyteladyes Lane, to Switchback Road and thence through Furze Plat into Maidenhead.  During the day, an hourly service is operated in each direction, with a slightly more frequent service at peak times.  The service operates on weekdays and Saturdays, however, there is no Sunday service.  There are no services after 7 p.m. on any day.





First bus from Cookham High Street to Maidenhead

Last bus from Maidenhead to Cookham High Street

First bus from Cookham High Street to High Wycombe

Last bus from High Wycombe to Cookham High Street

Monday to Friday

















Courtney Coaches operates this service (Marlow ­ Bisham ­ Cookham - Maidenhead) on Mondays and Thursdays and collects pre-booked passengers only (01344 482200).  The route follows the Winter Hill route from Marlow, passing through Cookham Dean Bottom, where it stops to pick up local passengers.


The M1 service was created as part of the Government “Rural Bus Challenge” which started about 5 years ago.


The project was initially “£pump primed” by central government but is now funded by the Borough.  Within this framework, RBWM “shared” a bus (2 days) with Wokingham (3 days) however, Wokingham has since pulled out of the scheme.  The service is operated only by pre-booking and will not run unless there are pre-booked passengers.  It was designed to provided a basic service to the more isolated small communities where there is a “social need”, for example banking / pension, weekly shop.  The service never pays for itself, in fact the service is almost 100% .used by holders of  Concessionary (“free”) bus passes.  A small coach, accommodating 8 passengers is used and provides an important, but limited, service within our community.


Courtney Coaches, under the RBWM “Borough Bus” scheme, operates this Sunday-only service as an extension of the other Route-7 services.  It provides a link into Cookham from the Woodlands Park area of Maidenhead, with 5 full round trips arriving in Cookham and returning at:


11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:00.


This service is intended for leisure, social and family visit purposes.     Service Quality

Although Route-37 does not operate during the evening or on Sundays, it is well used by the local Cookham community.  Similarly, the M1, albeit a very small and limited service, is also used by the local community – especially elderly passengers.  The Group does not have any available utilisation data for the 7S service at this stage.


Despite the importance of these services, Route-37 passengers complain about poor reliability and uncomfortable vehicles.  This is based on verbal evidence obtained by limited and informal questioning of passengers waiting for the bus on the High Street and is backed up by direct experience of members of the Group.  Arriva has said that it has no specific strategy in place to furnish Route-37 with more modern buses from its fleet and there is the real feeling that travelling on Route-37 could be a more pleasant experience.  The comfort of the ride is not helped by the poor road conditions that prevail in parts of the Borough.  However, aggressive driving is often a major factor.


We do not have any current published figures for service levels on Route-37, however we have received reports from local passengers that the hourly service sometimes fails to arrive.  Clearly, this is a major inconvenience to passengers bearing in mind the frequency of the service and total lack of shelters or seating.  Arriva is introducing new technology on several of its routes that provide waiting passengers with real-time information, such as the estimated time of arrival of the next bus.  Whilst it might not be possible for Arriva to implement the necessary systems to support this in all districts, we would like to investigate the possibility of up to date information using an 0800 number which passengers could call.                        Environmental impact

It has been observed that large road vehicles, such as coaches have difficulty in negotiating certain areas such as the High Street and the Pound and are responsible for localised congestion.  The TTWG encourages the use of smaller road vehicles by public transport providers to lessen their impact on the village road infrastructure.                        Bus and Train Fares

Contrary to some beliefs, the fares charged on the bus and train services between Cookham and Maidenhead are broadly similar.  The following table illustrates this comparison


Arriva #37: Cookham High Street to Maidenhead Town Centre










FGW: Cookham to Maidenhead



Off peak return


Open return



This is not surprising in view of the open competition between FGW and Arriva over the span of this route

8.3.4             Taxi services

A local taxi operator regularly delivers and collects passengers to / from Cookham station.  Although there are many taxis operating in the Borough in general, it is pleasing to see one that provides a service that helps to co-ordinate with the local train services.  The poster illustrated is clearly posted at the station office entrance.


We note, however, that there is no public phone facility at the station itself although a phone booth is provided near the entrance to the station car park, across the level crossing.







8.3.5             Special Needs Transport Facilities

Additional transport facilities are provided by a variety of schemes, supported by voluntary organisations and the Borough.  These include:


Cookham Voluntary Services:

Based in Cookham at Elizabeth House, this is a local charity, which provides car transport to villagers who have specialist needs, such as visits to local hospitals.



This is a charity run scheme where a membership fee is charged and a collection / drop-off is offered by prior arrangement for a small fee per journey.


Taxi Voucher System:

This is run by the Borough on the back of the concessionary fares scheme and is age / disability dependent.  It is controlled by the local Social Services.  The voucher system as originally implemented was subject to abuse and now is run on the basis of a £100 pa payment into personal bank accounts out of which, the users must pay for all their additional taxi / transport costs.


8.3.6             River Transport

A summertime leisure service is provided by Salters Steamers, linking Cookham to Maidenhead and Windsor and operates on Mondays and Fridays only, from mid-May to Mid-September


The starting point of these services is at Marlow, adjacent to Higginson Park and the boarding point at Cookham is at the small landing stage, which is accessed from the towpath approximately 100 metres from Cookham bridge, near Holy Trinity church.


This service passes through what is widely considered to be some of the most beautiful scenery on the Thames before finally finishing below the magnificent hilltop castle at Windsor.


It seems amazing that the service does not run at weekends when leisure demand would be at its greatest.  Is there a missed opportunity to encourage tourists to arrive by boat?  This service could benefit from better signage and advertising of services, times and prices.  The Parish Council has recently joined the Thames Alliance and may be able to make use of their services and website to promote the use of Salters Steamers.  Increased use may make a weekend service a viable option in the summer.




click on photo for larger image


8.4.1       Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

The RBWM implements support for local transport needs through its “Passenger Transport Team”.  Neil Beswick is the Principal Officer for Passenger Transport and we are grateful for his help in providing useful background material.


RBWM policy for the provision of local transport within the Borough is set out in its Local Transport Policy (LTP).  The following paragraphs summarise the Borough’s published LTP’s objectives and strategy

8.4.2             RBWM Local Transport Plan

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead produced the final version of its Local Transport Plan (LTP) in March 2006 and represents a 5-year strategy and implementation plan for transport in the Royal Borough, covering the period from 2006/07 to 2010/11. It sets out how the Royal Borough intends to work “towards achieving its long-term vision for transport, developed in association with local stakeholders”.


“The Borough anticipates that the LTP will continue to evolve over the coming 5-year period. In particular, the Accessibility Strategy and the Air Quality Action Plan will be the subjects of significant development work. The Council will also seek to respond positively to challenges that may arise and will seek to involve all relevant stakeholders in developing and implementing effective solutions, informed by public consultation where appropriate.”



The RBWM further defines its LTP Objectives and Strategies:



The objectives for the LTP are consistent with national and regional priorities, namely:


1.           To maintain transport assets;

2.           To improve safety for all transport users;

3.           To improve journey reliability and address congestion;

4.           To reduce the impact of transport on the environment;

5.           To improve access to everyday facilities.



The strategy has been developed around the following core components:


·              Mobility Management: A variety of low cost, supporting measures (e.g. information services, ticketing and travel plans), which enhance the effectiveness of investment in primary transport services and infrastructure (e.g. bus services, cycle lanes, etc).

·              Network Management: Measures designed to increase the efficiency of transport networks, maintain them to a suitable standard, protect sensitive environments and improve road safety for all transport users.

·              Improving Sustainable Transport Options: Measures designed to improve access to public transport, walking and cycling and reduce dependency on the private car for everyday travel.

·              Demand Management: Measures that discourage unsustainable transport patterns by limiting parking for new developments and effectively managing public car parking.


8.4.3             Buckinghamshire County Council Local Transport Plan

We have included the following extract from Bucks CC’s LTP mission statement because:


a)      Arriva Route-37 (High Wycombe to Maidenhead) falls under its remit.


b)      It provides an interesting comparison with the RBWM LTP


·              Travel Planning - Bus

·              “We are committed to supporting public transport in Buckinghamshire in a number of ways:”


·              Providing socially necessary local bus services

·              Providing the network of school transport services

·              Part-funding the Traveline telephone enquiry service

·              Publishing comprehensive timetables

·              Supporting community transport schemes


8.4.4             Local Transport Plans – Comment

Whilst the RBWM’s LTP included provision for public consultation is welcome, a comparison with the Bucks CC mission statement is useful.  The Bucks CC LTP has very specific statements on the provision of transport services, whereas the RBWM is concerned with more abstract (maybe no less worthy) concepts, such as safety, environment and access.  We feel, however, that it lacks the conviction of direct support of public transport within the Borough.  Additionally, it does not explicitly address the co-ordination of “cross-boundary” routes, such as the Arriva Route-37.


8.4.5             Local Pressure Groups     Marlow – Maidenhead Passengers’ Association (MMPA).

Elsewhere in this report we have made recommendations for a greater involvement with the MMPA in order to help to address Cookham’s public transport requirements.  In particular, we note that the MMPA holds a unique position of influence with transport providers and maintains an enormous level of skills and knowledge that would be of great use to Cookham.  Specific recommendations are made elsewhere in this report.


Excerpt from the MMPA constitution:


·              “The aims of the Association are the retention, improvement and greater usage of the Maidenhead – Bourne End – Marlow branch railway and the retention, improvement and greater usage of bus services in the Maidenhead, Bourne End, Marlow and High Wycombe areas and such other transport aims as appear to the Association’s Committee from time to time to be suitable for the Association to support.”


Strategy:         The Cookham Society is the best placed and most widely recognised and respected guardian of the interests of all of Cookham’s residents. Furthermore the Society has good communications capabilities via its news sheets.


8.5   Recommendations


This WG recommends that a senior member of the Cookham Society should also be a member of the MMPA tasked by the Society with responsibility for Cookham residents’ interests regarding MMPA business and ensuring that any threats to Cookham’s rail services are communicated to Cookham’s residents.


The WG formed the view that the current level of public transport service provision is adequate to the very basic needs of Cookham.  However, there are areas where improvement is needed.


Rail Timetable:  Early morning travel into London is frequently frustrated by the late arrival to Maidenhead station of the 8:00am train departure from Cookham.  Note that this should link with the high speed connection into London but is frequently missed.  Whilst duration of the Maidenhead to London leg of commuters’ (on the high speed service) journey is adequate, the overall journey times (Cookham > London) become excessive.


Recommendation:      Within the overall recommendation for greater Cookham participation in the MMPA (Marlow-Maidenhead Passengers’ Association), apply constant pressure on First Great Western for the application of better and reliable connections at Maidenhead.


8.5.1       Rail and Bus timetable co-ordination

This group has not been asked to establish whether rail and bus services should be co-ordinated: in the group’s view it is not an imperative.  However, whether such co-ordination could be achieved is a different matter.  This WG has spoken with Arriva, who operate the Route-37 service (High Wycombe to Maidenhead through Cookham and stopping slightly West of the railway crossing) on this matter.  Their position is that they operate the Berkshire side of the route entirely on a commercial basis.  As such they view the rail services as competition.


Recommendation:      As the need for co-ordination has not been established and that Arriva sees the rail service as competition, the WG considers that no further action on this topic should be undertaken.  If, however, Arriva should cease its commercial operation of  Route-37, on the Berkshire segment, then its is highly likely that the RBWM would need to incorporate a Cookham service into the Borough Bus scheme.  If this were to happen, then there could be an opportunity to reopen this topic.


8.5.2             A “Transport Hub” outside Cookham railway station.

The Group considered various ideas put forward for the implementation of a transport hub outside Cookham railway station.


Relocation of westbound bus stop

The current Maidenhead bound bus route stops on the Western side of the level crossing and has resulted in passengers, alighting for the station, to miss their connection due to barrier closures. Westbound buses pass over the level crossing, requiring alighting passengers to walk back over the crossing to the station platform.


Constructing a bus stop alongside the station buildings, for example a lay-by on the immediate approach, from the East, to the level crossing.  However, it is highly unlikely that this idea would meet safety requirements due to the proximity to the crossing gates.


Improved access to Taxi Services

The Group considered whether the availability of local taxis could be improved, for example by providing a taxi booking service from the station or nearby.  However, the Group has not been able to identify any demand for additional taxi facilities from the station.  There is currently one taxi that regularly provides services to rail users and probably meets local needs satisfactorily.


Even in an era where most of the population carries a mobile phone, there may be occasions when passengers need access to a traditional phone outside the station.  The current phone facility is located at the station car park on the other side of the track and its position is not obvious to passengers alighting at Cookham station.  Relocation of this phone to the station buildings would provide better access but the chances of vandalism would be increased.  There are of reports of “youths hanging around” the station in the evenings. The appearance of graffiti and damage to the platform shelter are evidence of anti-social behaviour.  Marlow station equipment has also been subject to late evening vandalism.


Recommendation:  The case for a transport hub is not proven at present, but should be reviewed if there was a drive to co-ordinate transport provision so that the emphasis is on providing a service rather than competition. In these days of trying to get people to use public transport rather than the car, surely this makes sense.


8.5.3             Threats

Whilst the remit of this Group is to identify needed improvements to the services, the TTWG considers that there are more serious issues which need addressing and concern possible threats to the future of the line.  Those considered are as follows:     Threat #1: The condition of the Bourne End Viaduct

click on photo for larger image


The condition of the Bourne End viaduct (“the railway bridge over the Thames”):  A member of the Group visited the bridge and has produced photographs showing the poor state of the ironwork.  Whilst Network Rail has declared the bridge “adequate for passenger trains” and “no significant renewal work is planned”, it has stated that “a proposal has been made for the viaduct to be painted but that it is the subject of funding approval”.  The WG is not aware that such funding has yet been approved which raises our concerns on the future of the viaduct.  Without the viaduct, there will be no Maidenhead to Marlow rail service.


Recommendation:      Within the overall recommendation for greater Cookham participation in the MMPA, apply constant pressure on First Great Western for a full programme of maintenance and decoration of the viaduct.                        Threat #2:      Community Railway Scheme

On its website ( ) Network Rail lists 24 designated Community Rail routes, excluding the Maidenhead-Marlow branch.  Originally it was proposed that the Maidenhead-Marlow branch line should be considered for similar classification.  It is understood that these proposals were encouraged under the then Minister for Transport (Alistair Darling) and although the Maidenhead-Marlow branch line is no longer in consideration, there is a potential that the policy may be revisited in the future.  There is widespread scepticism of this policy in respect to the Maidenhead-Marlow branch line and is perceived by local people as a first step to the running down of this service.


The following extract from the Network Rail surely sends out a warning:


“Assessment of community railway projects gives the opportunity for all concerned to assess whether these lines can be put on a sustainable basis by bringing costs and income closer together.  In managing these lines, particular care needs to taken that they are not over specified”


Recommendation:      Within the overall recommendation for greater Cookham participation in the MMPA, maintain vigilance of any resurgence of the Department of Transport Community Railway scheme.                        Threat #3:  The Crossrail Project

Project Overview



Construction is due to start in 2010 and the first trains should start running in 2017.



Declared Costs:

Taking into account inflation, costs of finance and contingency provisions which provides the cost of building Crossrail estimated at between £7bn - £11bn (2002 prices).



Costs & funding:

The £16bn cost of Crossrail is to be funded from a combination of sources. A substantial portion of the cost will come from central government, with another portion coming from the Mayor [of London]. The remainder is comprised of both a levy on business taxes, and a collection of lump-sum contributions from key beneficiaries - including £800m from Canary Wharf Group, £200m from BAA (the operators of Heathrow Airport) and £250m from the City of London Corporation.


Source: Crossrail


Whilst there is some doubt about the final Western terminal to Crossrail, the current plan is to terminate in Maidenhead (there are strong indications that Reading will be the final choice), there remain concerns and potential threats to the Maidenhead-Marlow branch line.  The following extract from Crossrail plans shows the proposed layout of new track to the West of Maidenhead station. 


click for larger image.

Whilst the WG has no actual evidence at hand, concern has been expressed that the redevelopment of the network at Maidenhead station to support the Crossrail project could lead to the closure of the local branch line.  The WG has been told (again, we have no concrete evidence at hand) that the Crossrail project had considered building a marshalling yard in the general area West of the branch line spur from Maidenhead station.  Potentially, this would bring it into conflict with the current branch line route.  Certainly the current plan diagrams show track developments in this area but they also show the existing branch line intact.


“Crossrail services will use the relief lines (slow lines) under normal operation.  Inter City and outer suburban services use the fast lines.“


“Because of the frequency of Crossrail trains East of Maidenhead, the entire relief line service between Reading and Paddington has to be recast. There are planned to be two trains an hour from Reading to London calling at principal stations (Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, Hayes and Harlington and Ealing Broadway). Some of these trains could start their journey to the West of Reading (e.g. Oxford). In addition there will be two trains an hour between Reading and Slough calling at all stations. Again some of these trains may originate/terminate to the West of Reading. These services are planned to be complementary to Crossrail services and the expectation is that they will be franchised conventionally by the Secretary of State.“ Source: Crossrail


There is also a wider concern that the Maidenhead to London route will take on additional stops and lead to a poorer end to end timetable.  Although this is probably strictly outside the remit of this WG we mention this as an additional concern.


Given the service description above, it is inevitable that we would lose direct services to Paddington.  There is not likely to be capacity in the timetable and, unless the branch line is electrified (too expensive) our diesel units would probably be too slow to fit in with the other services.  The branch line would therefore become an anomaly and susceptible to closure if passenger numbers drop.

Recommendation:      Within the overall recommendation for greater Cookham participation in the MMPA, maintain vigilance and review the emerging plans for Cross Rail and provide a rapid response strategy to Network Rail on any adverse impact the branch line.                        Threat #3:  Continuation of the Arriva service to Maidenhead

The Arriva Route-37 is an extension of the Route-35 (High Wycombe to Bourne End) service and is contracted by Bucks CC and Arriva chooses to maintain the extension to Maidenhead on purely a commercial basis.  Bucks CC does not provide financial support for the “Berkshire” leg of Route-37


The ongoing threat is that, should Arriva no longer consider the Berkshire extension to be commercially viable, the service could be withdrawn.  RBWM has indicated that it would have to consider implementing a substitute service to provide Cookham with an adequate bus service.  Whilst this could lead to a better service in certain ways (e.g. circular route, smaller vehicles), the loss of a connection into High Wycombe would be an unacceptable loss.                        Threat #4:  Courtney Coaches – contract renewal

The contract between Courtney Coaches (who run most of the Maidenhead bus services) and the RBWM is up for renewal next year (2009).  


The threat to Cookham is that the new contracts could have an adverse impact on the provision of the M1 service which, although very limited, does provide a lifeline to some Cookham residents in areas not covered by the Arriva bus and FGW rail services.


8.6 Timetables and Fares


8.6.1       Courtney Coaches M1 service – Marlow to Maidenhead


Marlow to Maidenhead

Marlow (Railway Station)




Bisham (The Bull P.H.)




Cookham (The Chequers)




Maidenhead (Frascati Way)




Maidenhead to Marlow

Maidenhead (Frascati Way)




Cookham (The Chequers)




Bisham (The Bull P.H.)




Marlow (Railway Station)






8.6.2             Arriva and FGW Fares – Cookham to Maidenhead

Arriva #37
Cookham High Street to Maidenhead Town Centre












FGW Cookham to Maidenhead


Off peak return

Open return







8.6.3             River Transport – Salters Steamers, Summer service

Current timetable

Marlow to Windsor 



Marlow (Higginson Park)



Marlow Lock



Cookham Landing Stage



Maidenhead (by Boulters Lock)



Windsor Bridge



Windsor to Marlow



Windsor Bridge



Maidenhead (by Boulters Lock)



Cookham Landing Stage



Marlow Lock



Marlow (Higginson Park)




Current fares




From Cookham







To: Maidenhead







To: Windsor







To: Marlow








8.7 Acknowlegements


Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM):

Neil Beswick - (Principal Officer for Passenger Transport)

First Great Western (FGW):

Barry Haines – Cookham Station Manager

Anne Edwards – Estates Manager

Cross Rail Plan

Text and plan by Crossrail


Clive King – Commercial Manager

Courtney Coaches:

Jackie Matthews – Operations Manager

Marlow - Maidenhead Passengers' Association (MMPA):

Paul Murphy - Chairman

Cookham Society:

Georgina Kilner - Chairman




The Bourne End Viaduct by Royston Willcocks


The points at Bourne End Station by the MMPA


All others by John Wagstaffe



8.8 Supporting Material


8.8.1       Web sites:


Bucks County Council

Wycombe District Council 

South Bucks District Council


Includes the towns of Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross, Burnham, Iver and Denham

First Great Western: 

Network Rail

Community Rail 

Crossrail - Route Plans


Arriva Buses: 

Courtney Coaches: 

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM): 

Salters Steamers: 

Marlow - Maidenhead Passengers' Association (MMPA): 

Cookham Society 

Cookham Web Site 

Cookham Parish Council 


8.8.2             Key Documents:

FGW Timetable

FGW Maidenhead to Marlow.pdf

Crossrail plan drawings for Maidenhead:


Arriva Route 37 and 35 timetable


M1 Timetable

Courtney Routes - Marlow - Bisham - Cookham - Maidenhead M1.pdf

7S Timetable

Courtney Route 7STimetable1.pdf

Local Transport Plans

td_ltp_chapter_1.pdf through td_ltp_chapter_8.pdf


8.8.3             Report from The Daily Telegraph, 5th August, 2008