Tuesday 23 Nov 2010
READING BRIDGE NEARS COMPLETION AHEAD OF XMAS RAIL IMPROVEMENT WORK
Network Rail today added the final piece to a 1,000-tonne rail bridge which is being constructed in advance of major engineering work on Reading’s railway this Christmas. The bridge is being built on the site of the old Royal Mail offices and will be lifted into place over Caversham Road during the New Year weekend.
The new bridge is an important first step in Network Rail’s project to improve Reading’s railway, which will see new platforms and entrances for Reading station and a rail viaduct to increase capacity and cut delays. The bridge will carry track to serve new platforms to the north of the station.
Caversham Road will be closed from 20.00 on 30 December to 06.00 on 3 January while the bridge is lifted into place. The bridge replacement is one part of a package of works Network Rail is undertaking in Reading over Christmas which will have a substantial impact on train services.
Network Rail project director for Reading, Bill Henry said: “We’re doing everything we can to reduce the impact of our work this Christmas train passengers and road users in Reading. Building the new Caversham Road bridge off site, in advance, keeps the amount of time we need to close the road and the railway to an absolute minimum.
“We’ve got the bridge up on scaffolding in our yard right now and we’re getting as much preparatory work as possible done over the coming weeks so we’re ready to slot it into place over New Year.”
The new bridge replaces four old ones, two of which were removed in September with the remaining two being removed over the New Year weekend. The new bridge will then be jacked up and driven into place on the back of a 1,000-tonne transportation platform with more than 270 wheels – each of which can be moved individually to allow for precise movements. Work is due to be complete on 3 January 2011 in time for the road and railway to reopen as people return to work after the Christmas break.
As well as installing the new bridge, Network Rail will also transfer signalling control for the entire Reading area to a new control centre in Didcot over the Christmas period. Trains will be unable to serve Reading station between 27–30 December while the signalling work is completed, and substantial changes to normal service will be in operation on 1–2 January while the bulk of the bridge work is undertaken.
Passengers should check to see how their journeys are affected at www.nationalrail.co.uk
Notes to editors
Caversham Road will be closed between Tudor Road (Station Hill) and Caversham Road roundabout from 8pm on 30 December 2010 to 6am on 3 January 2011.
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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.