Better rail journeys for thousands of passengers each year after major improvement work on the Western route is completed on time: Installation of new freight lines at Reading

Tuesday 7 Apr 2015

Better rail journeys for thousands of passengers each year after major improvement work on the Western route is completed on time

Region & Route:
| Southern

Network Rail’s major improvement work over the Easter weekend was completed on time today, Tuesday 7 April, enabling passengers who travel on the Western route to London Paddington from the west, south west and Thames Valley to benefit from faster journeys, greater reliability and a better travelling experience.

At Reading new freight lines were installed that will completely separate passenger and freight services for the first time, removing the delays that were previously experienced when some passenger services had to wait for slower freight trains to pass through before commencing their journeys.

This stunning time-lapse photography shows the scale of the work involved in installing the new lines that will enable all those travelling on this route to benefit from smoother, faster journeys into and through Reading station.

In addition to the extensive work at Reading, Network Rail’s re-signalling project at Slough also ran to schedule. This project involved replacing ageing signalling equipment with new, ‘state of the art’ technology to improve reliability and punctuality for passengers.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “These were ambitious projects to complete over the Easter weekend and are important milestones in our Easter package of improvement work, the biggest package of improvement work carried out on the Western route to date.

“These vital pieces of work pave the way for fewer delays and smoother journeys for passengers."

Network Rail’s Easter package of improvement work continues this week with the installation of new track and signalling equipment on the relief lines between Didcot and Reading.

Patrick continued: “We still have a significant amount of work to complete in the Thames Valley, which is why I would urge anyone travelling over the next week to check before they travel.

“We fully understand the frustration this can cause, but ask the public to please bear with us through this planned period of disruption, when we will be modernising and significantly improving this part of the rail network to ensure it is fit to meet the future demands that will be placed upon it.”


Notes to editors

Further travel information can be found by visiting National Rail Enquiries’ website Alternatively, train operator First Great Western also has up-to-date travel advice on their website

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office -Western route

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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