NETWORK RAIL BOOSTS CROSSRAIL AND READING PROJECTS: Passenger trains approaching Reading station

Friday 24 Apr 2009


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

Network Rail today gave passengers and the people of London a boost by taking a big step forward in the delivery of the Crossrail and Reading projects. It has announced the intention to appoint Bechtel as its delivery partner for these vital congestion busting projects.

This move heralds the biggest investment in improving the railway for passengers using services between London, Bristol and Wales since it was built, and complements Network Rail’s other work to increase capacity and improve performance across the country.

The Crossrail project, together with Thameslink, will, for the first time, allow passengers to use mainline trains across, and through the Capital - north, south, east and west. Network Rail is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the parts of Crossrail that are on the existing network.

Passengers east of London in both Kent and Essex will also benefit from the improvements as Crossrail will extend as far as Shenfield and Abbey Wood.

Network Rail’s £2.3bn of Crossrail work includes:

· Electrifying the western route from London to Maidenhead

· Rebuilding and improving stations on the route including Paddington, Abbey Wood, Ilford, Romford and Ealing Broadway

· Major junction and train reliability improvements

At Reading, the £400m+ scheme will dramatically improve the station and the reliability and punctuality of services accessing and passing through the station by:

· Removing the current bottleneck by constructing a new railway viaduct west of the station thus improving the reliability and punctuality

· Doubling the number of platforms and building a new passenger footbridge and northern entrance to the station

Bechtel will join Network Rail’s team to assist with the delivery of all these important upgrades to the infrastructure.

Robbie Burns, major programme director, Network Rail said: "Passengers and freight users are at the core of our work. These big investment projects at Reading and the Crossrail scheme will deliver dramatic tangible improvements.

"Bechtel has an excellent record of delivery and we welcome them onto our projects to complement our strong in-house team, bringing extra skills and resource."

Notes to editors

Crossrail: Network Rail is working in partnership with Crossrail Ltd, Transport for London and the Department for Transport on the scheme. When complete, Crossrail will link Maidenhead to the west of London through to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood. It will connect commuters directly to the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow Airport, using mainline trains and a 21km tunnel under the centre of the City, adding in one fell swoop an entire 10% to London’s combined rail and tube capacity. Main construction will begin in 2010, and when it does, Crossrail will be the largest civil engineering project in Europe. Reading: Reading Station is one of the busiest stations in the country outside London, acting as both an interchange station and as an origin and destination for journeys. Currently Reading is identified by Network Rail as the greatest performance and capacity constraint on the Great Western Main Line. The aim of the project at Reading is to remove the current bottleneck and provide improvements to performance and reliability while also improving the station itself for passengers. This will be done through the construction of a railway viaduct west of the station to separate crossing railway lines, doubling the number of platforms in the station and a building new passenger footbridge and northern entrance. Passengers will see incremental improvements to service through to completion in 2015.

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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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