Half-Billion Pound Station Will Open Early

Network Rail engineers say disruption at Reading Station will be over a year early - as work is now due to be completed on the £550m project, by 2015.

Network Rail gave commuters the good news as a 3-day exhibition opens on the latest developments on the project - and how they've worked so well they're now able to complete the 6 year programme, in 5 years.

Major Programme Director Robbie Burns told heart "Our work in Reading is not just about upgrading the station. We’re building a viaduct, constructing new bridges and embankments, making massive alterations to track layout, renewing signalling and building a train depot. This project will transform Reading’s railway and benefit the entire Great Western Main Line.

Mr Burns added: "Over recent months we’ve been looking carefully at how the pieces of the puzzle fit together, and consulting our customers to make sure we minimise the impact of this work on passenger and freight trains using Reading. We’ve developed a plan that means we’ll finish our work in Reading in 2015, a year ahead of schedule. This means less disruption for people who live in Reading and rely on the railway."

Network Rail’s revised programme amalgamates three separate pieces of engineering work at Easter 2013, which will see new entrances and platforms brought into use at the station. Reading’s new train depot will be open for use at the end of 2013, and work on Cow Lane bridges will be completed in 2014.

The project will complete in 2015, following big alterations to the track layout including the construction of viaduct to take fast lines over slower ones.

Passengers on services from Basingstoke and Oxfordshire won't be delayed nearly so much in future as a new rail "fly-over" will carry InterCity and future electric high-speed trains on the London-Bristol main line - over slower freight traffic and other commuter trains to and from Hampshire and Oxford.

An exhibition on plans for Reading’s railway opens to the public today Thursday 19 May and will run until Saturday.

The Network Rail engineers who are responsible for the railway upgrade project will be on hand to answer questions and explain their plans.

Details of the exhibition are as follows:

Thursday 19 May: 08.00 – 19.00 (Reading station)
Friday 20 May: 08.00 – 19.00 (Reading station)
Saturday 21 May 19.00 – 14.00 (Reading Town Hall, Blagrave Street)

For passengers - by 2015, they'll be using a much-improved station entrance on the town centre side, and a brand new northern entrance on the other side of the tracks.

Most recently, works been carried out on surrounding roads including St. Mary's Butts, West Street, Friar Street, Station Road, Station Approach, Blagrave Street, Valpy Street, Forbury Road and The Forbury - giving wider pavements, re-surfaced roads and improved pedestrian crossings.