Friday 26 Feb 2016
Reading railway redevelopment gains international recognition
Network Rail’s orange army has received international recognition for its work to provide a better experience for passengers travelling to and through Reading station.
Today, Friday 26 February, members of the Taiwanese Government took part in a visit to the station that was hosted by Network Rail and attended by Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East. The purpose of the visit was to enable the delegates to learn how the company is delivering its £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers, in preparation for their own programme of modernisation work.
Reading was chosen as the ideal location as it has recently benefitted from an £895m project to upgrade the station and its surrounding area, including a new station building, new tracks and a new signaling system, all of which have helped to provide passengers with greater reliability and smoother journeys.
As demonstrated by the latest National Passenger Survey, these extensive upgrades have helped to improve passengers’ overall travelling experience, with customer satisfaction at Reading station rising by five percent to 93 percent, compared with autumn 2014.
Over the next few years Reading will also benefit from electrification which will see the introduction of a new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains. This is in addition to the arrival of Crossrail services in 2019 that will provide better rail connections between the south east and London, and the proposed link to Heathrow airport that will enable passengers to benefit from a direct 26 minute service from Reading to Heathrow Terminal 5.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Taiwanese delegates to Reading station and show them the extensive work we have carried out to provide passengers with greater reliability, fewer delays and faster, smoother journeys into and through the station area.
“Upgrading a Victorian railway is extremely complex and it was useful to learn about the challenges the Taiwanese Government face in completing their own modernisation programme. Hopefully we can continue to learn from each other as we deliver our extensive upgrade of the Western route.”
Notes to editors
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail’s £40bn spending plan for Britain’s railways for the five year period up to 31 March 2019. The plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to tremendous growth the railways have seen – a doubling of passengers in the past twenty years. The plan will deliver a bigger, better railway with more trains, longer trains, faster trains with more infrastructure, more reliable infrastructure and better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.