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Maurice Oram 1935 - 2018

Some recollections from Mark Hopwood

Maurice Oram

Maurice Oram, our founding chairman and later Honorary President, died on December 20th 2018. Great Western Railway’s Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, was also involved with MMPA (originally MMRPA) in the early days and we asked him for his recollections of Maurice at that time.

Maurice was one of the founding members of the MMPA in the early 1970s. At the time, Maurice was a Town Councillor in Marlow and he and others had serious concerns that after closing the Bourne End to Wycombe section in 1970 then the Maidenhead to Marlow section would be next.

The concerns of Maurice and his colleagues were not entirely without foundation as BR had deliberately retimed the Bourne End to Wycombe service so it didnt connect well to/from Maidenhead.

Maurice became the chair of the MMPA and he assumed this role until.the late 1980s. Many involved in the MMPA over the years had combined their role working on behalf of passengers with an enthusiasm for trains/railways. Not so with Maurice - his motivation was ensuring Marlow had the services and facilities it needed and he saw the railway as key to this.

He had a close interest in this matter as he didn’t own or have a licence to drive a car. All his travel out of Marlow had to be by train or bus and Maurice saw the MMPA representing bus and rail users in the area as well as showing an interest in bus/train services in the High Wycombe area. As a County Councillor all his journeys to/from Aylesbury were by Alder Valley bus!

The MMPA under Maurice achieved its primary initial focus of keeping the railway line open, but also worked hard to protect and improve ststion facilities and to ensure planned timetable changes to the Marlow branch were improvements not worsenment.

One of the big successes for the MMPA was the restoration of Sunday services, initially in the summer, from the mid 1980s with subsequent improvements to make it an all year affair.

The MMPA under Maurice also set up an annual charter train, hiring a loco-hauled set to run from Maidenhead with a six car DMU providing a branch connection. Three carriages of the DMU performed an elaborate shunt at Bourne End to reach Marlow and was recoupled at Bourne End.

Maurice stood down in the late 1980s in favour of Nigel Hunt.

Maurice was elected locally time after time to local council positions based on his personal following rather than his Liberal party label but the consequences of national politics caught with with Maurice after the coalition government was formed in 2010.

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Last updated 13th January, 2019