Cancellation of direct trains to London on the Cookham line could benefit commuters who use the Marlow to Maidenhead service according to pressure group.

The Marlow Maidenhead Passengers Association has said the cancellation of the service would improve passenger waiting times following an upgrade of the line known as ‘the ‘Marlow Donkey’ to provide a half hourly direct service.

This comes after Cookham Parish Council launched a campaign to electrify the branch line through Cookham and Furze Platt stations before cancellation of the service would cause ‘major problems’ for commuters.

Whilst speaking in support of electrification, Richard Porter, from the MMPA said it is a common misconception that it would provide a more frequent service and is not the immediate answer.

He said: “This scheme will be a big boost for the line and, with the elimination of through trains to London, will get rid of the long intervals at each ends of the peak periods when two trains have to pass over the single line in the same direction.

“The service will be more reliable if it is independent of the main line. Of course the need to run longer trains in the peaks will still mean changing at Bourne End during those times.

“It makes sense to do all the infrastructure changes before electrifying the line, since the overhead line equipment would get in the way and would itself have to be redesigned.”

The group will also pressure Network Rail to tidy up the line which currently has overgrown weeds lining the tracks.

He said: “We support the electrification of the branch. There is what's known as the "sparks effect" - if you electrify a railway line more people will use it because it is seen as being cleaner, greener, quicker and quieter.

 “However we must all campaign for the branch to be upgraded, but electrification should not be top of the list.

“We need to get the LEP scheme underway as soon as possible, and in the meantime pressure Network Rail to tidy up the track.”

Mr Porter believes funding for the upgrade is in place but it is not yet known when the work will begin.