Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, was on Friday 15 March given a preview of what it will be like inside the new Reading Station, before the new entrances and bridge open on 2nd April.
During the visit representatives from Network Rail explained how the £895 million redevelopment of the station and track will help to provide capacity for more trains, reduce delays and generally improve the passenger experience.
Reading is one of the busiest parts of country’s rail network and its complicated track layout constricts the number of trains that can run. Currently, six out of the ten most overcrowded journeys in the UK take place between Reading and London. Work is ongoing to change the track layout, as well as provide new entrances and five new platforms for the station, which will help reduce congestion in the station.
Alok Sharma said: “I have often spoken out about the need to improve conditions for rail commuters in my constituency, both in Parliament and in discussions with the network operators and ministers, so I am absolutely delighted that the new Reading Station will be delivered ahead of schedule and the improvements will help to reduce overcrowding and improve the commuter experience.”
Alok continued: “The new Reading station is a concrete example of this Government’s commitment to delivering what is the largest and most ambitious investment in our railways across the country, since Queen Victoria was on the throne. The improvements will go a long way to ensuring that Reading remains a key transport hub connecting London with the South of England and a vital engine for economic growth.”
Network Rail Communications Manager for Reading Station, Eimear Fitzpatrick said:
“The redevelopment will deliver five new platforms, a better station and unblock the bottle-neck at Reading. We are delighted to be making this investment into Reading which is one of the busiest parts of the railway in the country.”
Eimear continued: “Up until now Network Rail has been able to complete virtually all the work without impacting on customers, but to complete the next section of work it is having to change the train services over the Easter period. This will take place from 29 March to 7 April, with passengers being advised to check before they travel.”
The whole redevelopment project is due to finish in 2015, a year ahead of schedule.
Photos: Alok Sharma with Network Rail station project manager Matt Jackson