Can I create a keyboard shortcut to take the CTI to the beginning or end of the work area in the Timeline panel?
Also, can I remap the keyboard shortcut (~) that maximises the current panel?
In CS5, it's under Application and called "Maximize or Restore Frame." In CS5.5 it's also under Application, but you have two choices: "Maximize or Restore Active Frame" and "Maximize or Restore Frame Under Cursor." The latter is how CS5 works; the former is a new addition, and will only maximize/restore whatever frame is currently outlined in yellow, e.g. active.
I'll file a FR for that work area shortcut.
You're welcome, and good idea. As a more immediate workaround, you could consider dropping sequence markers, or even just marking an in and out point where you need to have quick(er) access.
New Terminology for CS5.5
The CTI is now called the "Play Head"