Posted 17th July 2014 | 9 Comments

Royal opening for modernised Reading

HER Majesty the Queen has declared the newly modernised station at Reading open today.

The work is part of an £895 million scheme which is also providing a new flyover and remodelled track layouts. These will allow the station to handle up to 30 million passengers a year, which is forecast by 2030.

Network Rail and project manager Bechtel led the project. Bechtel managing director for global rail Ailie MacAdam said: “Collaboration between Network Rail, train operators, passengers and other stakeholders was essential to the success of Reading station’s transformation.”

Reading now has five more platforms, served by lifts and escalators. Two station entrances -- one for the town centre and the other for Caversham Road -- are connected by a new passenger transfer link bridge. A new depot has also been built at the down end of the station, and electrification works are continuing.

The station is also now to be the western terminal for Crossrail services, after the extension from Maidenhead which was announced earlier this year, while management of the station was transferred from First Great Western to Network Rail in April.

First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We are honoured to have the Queen here at Reading today. A huge effort from thousands of Network Rail and First Great Western staff has gone into developing the station and it is great to see their achievement recognised.

“This is a fantastic day, not just because our customers have a brand new station that is fit for the 21stCentury, but also because it marks the completion of the first major project in a series of billion pound investments that will be made in the Great Western network over the coming years.

“It is also a day when we should thank our customers for their patience. You can’t build a station of this size and stature without it impacting on customers, so I am grateful that they have seen and understood what we have tried to achieve. Almost 60 million people have passed through this station since the start of the project and we’ve barely had a handful of complaints.

“Now, we need to look ahead. In the coming years, the Great Western network will see some of the biggest investments since Brunel with projects like electrification and Crossrail bringing huge economic benefits to the region. We will work with Network Rail to make them happen.”

The remainder of the work on the flyover and other new track is due to be completed next year.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Ian Hughes, Reading

    In reply to John Gilbert's comment of when will electirifcation ever begin.

    It has already started. OLE is being planted between Didcot and Reading, as this will initially form the test track for new trains. In addition, all the old signalling has to be replaced with 25KV immune equipment before it can be switched on. Add to this the need to construct electric feeders, substations, raise bridge heights to accommodate the wires (over 200 of these).

    Paradoxically, when you see the wires being run, this is indicative that the job is heading towards completion.

  • Michael, Reading

    Yea!! Great, we get a rebuild Reading Station at a cost of almost £900million.
    Opps, the designers were short-sighted as the new over track pedestrian level was only designed for the 'new' railway Loading Gauge called "UK1".
    UK1... odd when there are enough railway loading gauges that already exist in world, the Engineers and Designers had to create a new one unique to ONLY THE UK.
    What was wrong with building it to UIC GC - the same as the channel tunnel. Then if in a decade or three, the GWR decides to run Double Decker TGV's from Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol to locations on the Continent, there would not be a footbridge blocking the route in Reading!
    And NO the track bed can not be lowered due to the passage ways under the track bed and the two bridges over roads at each end of the station.

    £900million but the Kinematic Envelope is 1.5metres too short.
    Yet another UK infrastructure project built for the 19th century instead of Engineered for the 21st Century!
    Ditto for Cross rail's tunnels through London - too small for DD trains - by just a smidge!

  • John Ellwood, Carnforth

    Improvements to the decrepit rolling stock on the Colne - Blackpool South line would increase.passenger numbers. The line to Balckpool Central should / could be reopened. Too much investment is London centred.

  • John Gilbert, Cradley, Herefordshire

    Yes, but I still wait news that actual wiring has begun on the GWML electrification! Will this work EVER begin? Or is the whole business just a sham? Does the Emperor have any clothes on?

  • PeteD, St Albans

    The South East and London is very different from the North. Down here the main alternative to rail (the roads) are packed and slow even at the weekends. Therefore the railways can rip out seats to provide more standing and charge high fares. Do that up North and the passengers will become drivers. A lot of investment down South is paid through the fare box and not by the tax payer. That's the up-side of living in the crowded and polluted south.

  • Garry Oldham, Locks Heath

    While a lot of work is going into the North West triangle they have prioritised the Blackpool North Line over the Blackpool South line so its doubtful that the service on that line will improve much, although they are trying to get Sunday services going on most lines in the North. The best bet to improve services to Blackpool South is if they rebuild the Colne to Skipton line as services terminate at Colne at the far end.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Crossrail was originally planned to reach Reading but was cut back to Maidenhead to save money . So spend almost £900 million on Reading Station and electrification and we can afford to extend Crossrail to Reading !

    When you add Reading rebuild to Kings Cross and now London Bridge and soon Euston for HS2 it shows how rail is now getting investment last seen when Victoria was queen !

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I 'road-tested' the Station yesterday with my 4 year old Grand-daughter- just to make sure it was all working before her Majesty arrived. We managed to set the alarms off in the lift (very easy to do in the very small lifts) - 'Don't Panic - Help is on its Way' is the repeated message. But otherwise we are all very proud in Reading of our new Station - even if the Footbridge (sorry Retail Area) is grossly over-engineered. Although we have awnings which would cover many Football Pitches, the Station doesn't appear to have any Solar Panels on it at all. Maybe I'm mistaken but it does seem like a missed opportunity.

  • Tony Ford, St. Anne's on the Sea

    So good to see such investment in our railways. Hope more investment makes its way to the north of England.
    We have an hourly service, no winter Sunday service, ancient rolling stock and poor connectivity for London-bound bound services from Preston.