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Reading given go-ahead for £68M station upgrade

Network Rail has secured government approval and funding for a £68M upgrade of Reading station, it was revealed this week.
The leader of Reading Borough Council, David Sutton, confirmed that transport minister Doug Alexander is to formally announce the decision in two weeks.Reading's railway station is the second busiest outside of London and is a major bottleneck for trains travelling between London and the south west and Wales. A plan to add track capacity and platforms was identified by Network Rail chief executive John Armitt as one of the three most critical projects on the network (NCE 8 March).But it was feared the scheme would be axed after it failed to win a slice of the government's Transport Innovation Fund cash last summer (NCE 29 June 2006).The news will be a boost for supporters of Armitt's two other priority schemes, Thameslink and Birmingham New Street.The Reading scheme has been worked up by the Reading Station Partnership Board, which is led by Reading Borough Council and includes representatives from the Government Office for the South East, Network Rail, the South East England Development Agency, South East England Regional Assembly and the Department for Transport.A formal bid was submitted in March last year, and this has now won approval, said Sutton, speaking at the international property fair, MIPIM, in Cannes.

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