Reopening the old railway line between High Wycombe and Bourne End may not be “pie in the sky”, according to councillors, who put the possibility back on the table this week.

The issue was raised at a Wycombe District Council cabinet meeting on Monday evening during a discussion to ensure there is enough transport for the thousands of new homes over the next 20 years.

WDC refused to rule out reopening the former line – closed in 1970 - pointing to the advances of Crossrail and East West Rail as boosting its chances.

A feasibility study could now take place within the next two years.

Cabinet member for planning, Cllr David Johncock, said: “I think we should be getting cars and lorries off the roads and getting everyone onto trains, but it doesn’t always work out like that.

“I can’t tell you whether it’s pie in the sky until we do the feasibility study.”

Cllr David Watson, who represents Flackwell Heath and Little Marlow, was the first to call for a return to the rail link during the meeting.

He said: “This might sound like an old hobby horse, but I would like to think we would not rule out the possibility of pushing for the reconnection of High Wycombe to Bourne End via the railway, especially with all the investment which might be happening.”

The line closed in 1970 when more than 2,000 stations were shut down following a report by Dr Richard Beeching which recommended the closure of hundreds of branch lines.

Dr Elsa Woodward, 88, of The Haystacks, High Wycombe, has been campaigning for its reopening for 20 years, saying that it is long overdue.

She added: “There is an enormous need for public transport between High Wycombe and Bourne End with lots of traffic building up over the years.

“There is a huge increase in railway passengers at High Wycombe and now platforms are longer to take longer trains so this line reopening is something that could and should realistically happen.”

Dr Woodward began campaigning for the line's restoration 20 years ago in support of Little Marlow-based engineer Chris Wallace, and she sees the benefits of it reopening.

She said: “He surveyed the High Wycombe to Bourne End line and said he could help with work on it so we wanted to support him.

“It would be extremely beneficial and although it might take a year or two to complete, it would reduce congestion.

“There would be problems as houses have already been built on the line but it will be a help in future years.

“I doubt it would be ready before I pop off but I’m glad they have finally taken an interest.”