Station spotlight: Reading

It’s one of Britain’s busiest rail hubs and it just celebrated its 179th birthday on 30 March.

Reading railway station is used by almost 20 million passengers a year, making it the second busiest interchange station outside of London. That’s second only to Birmingham New Street, which has almost four million passengers a year changing trains at the station.

A decade ago, Reading’s major £895m transformation launched. It would involve five new platforms, new retail facilities and a new footbridge three times the size of the original.

All platforms now have new lifts, escalators and canopies, making the station more accessible, lighter and brighter. It’s also better able to accommodate the growing more number of passengers, with 30m people forecast to use the station by 2030.

Her Majesty The Queen officially reopened the terminus in July 2014 after the project completed a year ahead of schedule.

Increased passenger satisfaction

Passenger satisfaction at Reading station has significantly improved since the upgrade. An autumn 2015 survey by independent watchdog Transport Focus found the station’s score had increased to 93% following the project – a 5% increase on the same period a year earlier. Today, its score remains above 90%.

Her Majesty The Queen officially opens Reading Station

Global excellence

Members of the Taiwanese Government took part in a visit to the station in 2016 to learn more about how Network Rail was delivering its landmark Railway Upgrade Plan across Britain.

The delegates visited Reading as an example of our extensive work to provide passengers with greater reliability, fewer delays and faster, smoother journeys.

Click on the gallery to see more images

Further improvements

Outside the station, we’ve recently carried out a major improvement that will substantially benefit Reading. In February, we began a project to remove one of the town’s most problematic bottlenecks following upgrades of two railway bridges.

The joint project by Network Rail and Reading Borough Council centres on Reading’s Cow Lane and means buses and lorries can use the road for the first time. This will create a safer and more pleasant local environment.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, said: “The removal of Reading’s most notorious bottleneck marks a major landmark for the town. For the first time ever two-way traffic will be able to pass through Cow Lane without the need for traffic lights. The removal of the height restriction is just as significant, as it opens the route up for lorries and potentially for double decker buses.”

Header image photo credit: Jim Stephenson