Tuesday 22 Dec 2009

CONTRACT AWARD ROUNDS OFF GOOD YEAR FOR NETWORK RAIL’S READING RAILWAY UPGRADE

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western

Network Rail awarded the latest contract for its redevelopment of the railway at Reading this week, capping a successful year that has seen substantial progress on the scheme. The contract, awarded to Jacobs Engineering, is for the design of a new train depot on railway land to the north west of the station.

The train depot is a key part of the scheme, which will also see improvements to Reading Station, including five new platforms and a new footbridge with lifts and escalators. Network Rail’s plans will also untangle the railway lines to the west of Reading, improving the reliability and frequency of trains serving the station.

Robbie Burns, Network Rail major programme director, said: “The award of the train depot contract rounds off a successful year for the Reading scheme in which we’ve seen our plans approved by the transport secretary, awarded contracts to design the new station and widen Caversham and Vastern Road bridges, and fitted out site offices at the old Caversham Road Royal Mail depot ready to move in next year. We’re going to be twice as busy in 2010 as we publish detailed designs for the scheme and get started on construction work in earnest.

“The work we’re doing at Reading is one of Britain’s largest railway upgrade projects both in terms of investment and complexity. We’re expecting to see twice as many people using the railway at Reading in 20 years time and this major upgrade will enable us to meet this demand, providing more frequent and reliable trains and a bigger, better equipped station for passengers.”

Over the past year, the Reading scheme has achieved the following milestones:

  • Contracts have been awarded to design the station and new train depot, and to widen Caversham Road and Vastern Road bridges to make space for additional platforms
  • Project offices to provide joint accommodation for Network Rail staff and contractors have been set up in the old Caversham Road Royal Mail depot
  • Preparatory work to resignal the railway at Reading has got underway
  • The transport secretary has given the green light to the scheme, awarding a transport and works act order for the project

During 2010, detailed designs for the project will be produced and Reading residents, businesses and community groups will be given the chance to have their say on the plans. Work to upgrade the signalling in Reading will continue, and Caversham and Vastern Road bridges will be widened to make space for the new platforms at the station. Further contracts to design and build the scheme will be awarded, ready for work at the station to begin later in the year.

Ends

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About Network Rail

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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