Network Rail announced yesterday that it had awarded Jacobs Engineering a contract for the design of a new train depot on railway land to the north west of Reading station.
The train depot is a key part of the scheme, which will also see improvements to Reading station, including five new platforms and a new footbridge with lifts and escalators. Network Rail’s plans will also untangle the railway lines to the west of Reading, improving the reliability and frequency of trains serving the station.
“The award of the train depot contract rounds off a successful year for the Reading scheme in which we’ve seen our plans approved by the transport secretary, awarded contracts to design the new station and widen Caversham and Vastern Road bridges, and fitted out site offices at the old Caversham Road Royal Mail depot ready to move in next year,” said Network Rail major programme director Robbie Burns. “We’re going to be twice as busy in 2010 as we publish detailed designs for the scheme and get started on construction work in earnest.
“The work we’re doing at Reading is one of Britain’s largest railway upgrade projects both in terms of investment and complexity. We’re expecting to see twice as many people using the railway at Reading in 20 years time and this major upgrade will enable us to meet this demand, providing more frequent and reliable trains and a bigger, better equipped station for passengers.”
Over the past year, the Reading scheme has met the following milestones:
- Contracts have been awarded to design the station and new train depot, and to widen Caversham Road and Vastern Road bridges to make space for additional platforms
- Project offices to provide joint accommodation for Network Rail staff and contractors have been set up in the old Caversham Road Royal Mail depot
- Preparatory work to resignal the railway at Reading has got underway
- The transport secretary has given the green light to the scheme, awarding a transport and works act order for the project
During 2010, detailed designs for the project will be produced and Reading residents, businesses and community groups will be given the chance to have their say on the plans. Work to upgrade the signalling in Reading will continue, and Caversham and Vastern Road bridges will be widened to make space for the new platforms at the station. Further contracts to design and build the scheme will be awarded, ready for work at the station to begin later in the year.