Network Rail has successfully completed the first stage of a six year project to upgrade Reading station over the festive period.
Between 25 December and 3 January, more than 250 engineers worked to resignal more than 160km of railway around Reading, transferring control to a signal centre in Didcot. Also, in the early hours of New Year’s Day a new 1,000t bridge deck was lifted into place over Caversham Road near the station, ready to carry track serving new platforms when the revamp is completed in 2016.
“The work we’ve completed this Christmas is the launch pad for a huge programme of improvements for Reading’s railway. Over the coming years we’ll build a bigger, better station and make substantial changes to the track layout to improve journeys on the entire Western route, from London to Penzance and Swansea,” Network Rail’s project director for Reading Bill Henry said
“Our people have put in 16,000h over the past ten days to deliver this work on time, and some two years of planning have gone into keeping disruption to the railway and road network to a minimum.
“Local people have given us great support over the past few days. Around 30 people spent the whole of New Year’s Eve watching us slide the new bridge into place, and hundreds more visited our work site over the new year weekend. It’s fantastic that the public are enthusiastic about our work and show understanding when it affects their journeys.”
Work on the project will continue this year, with demolition of the old signal box and other buildings north of the station to make way for new platforms. New entrances and a new passenger footbridge will follow, and these will open for use in 2013.