THUMBS UP FOR REDEVELOPING READING RAILWAY : Passenger trains approaching Reading station

Monday 1 Dec 2008

THUMBS UP FOR REDEVELOPING READING RAILWAY

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Southern: Wessex
| Wales & Western
| Southern

Reading residents and rail users have shown their support for the Reading rail re-modelling scheme. Over 2,000 people took part in Network Rail’s consultation on redeveloping the railway at Reading and 95% of the comments received supported the proposals or requested further detail.

Nearly 150 people have responded in writing. The majority of the comments left were positive messages expressing overall confidence and support, followed by enthusiasm for the proposed improvements to the Cow Lane bridges.

Most of the residents, particularly from the Oxford road area, were very pleased that the bridges will be widened and the cycle and pedestrian access improved. Some have also asked for information on how the bridges would look.

Respondents were pleased the proposals will ease overcrowding at the station and were interested in even more development at the station beyond Network Rail’s current proposals - including revamping the concourse, expanding pick-up/drop-off points and improved cycle parking.

Rupert Walker, Network Rail’s senior sponsor said:

“We are encouraged by the strong support and interest shown by so many of Reading residents and rail users in our project. As we develop the design of our scheme their comments will be valued by our engineers. We would like to thank everyone who took part.

“This project will deliver great benefits to rail users all along the Western line, with more trains, fewer delays and improvements to the station. We will hold another exhibition next year to show Reading’s growing number of rail users the added detail for which they asked.”

Cllr Tony Page, Reading Borough Council's Lead Councillor for Strategic Planning and Transportation said:

"I am very pleased with this public endorsement of one of the most important rail schemes in the country.

“Besides the benefits to rail passengers, the major capacity enhancements at Reading Station will enable the Council, working in partnership with Network Rail and others, to deliver substantial regeneration benefits to the town. The improvements to the Cow Lane bridges will also allow us to secure environmental and traffic improvements in the Oxford Road area, which will be the subject of further consultations by the Borough Council."

John Bird, First Great Western's senior project manager and interface manager for Reading and Crossrail schemes said:

"We are delighted Network Rail has undertaken public consultation on this large and vital project and welcome the positive support it has received. This project is important for Reading as a commercial centre, and for rail customers who pass through on the Great Western route. We look forward to working with Network Rail to deliver the benefits the project will bring."

The September exhibition drew in almost 1100 people who stopped to talk to Network Rail’s people about the plans for the upgrades. Many others visited the Reading re-modelling website during the consultation period.

Preliminary work is already underway with construction in full swing in 2010. Once it is completed in 2015, the scheme will enable:

  • More trains to run through Reading;
  • Reduced delays on the Western route; and
  • Less overcrowding at the station.

The next stage of the project will see greater details developed about what will be built, how it will be done and timelines for the project. Network Rail will hold another exhibition in the autumn of 2009, before construction begins, to explain the plans further.

- ends -

Notes to editors

Network Rail is working closely with Reading Borough council and First Great Western on this government-funded programme to tackle the bottle neck at Reading, one of the most critical rail hubs in Britain. Reading’s current track layout and signalling severely limits the number of services that can travel through the station. The project has funding of £425m to deliver a 37% improvement in train service performance reliability in the Reading area by 2015. Reading will benefit from this project as will the many destinations that Reading serves, including London Paddington, Bristol, South Wales, Cornwall and Oxford, along with London Waterloo, Gatwick Airport and the south coast.

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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.

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