Lord Adonis supports extending Crossrail to Reading
Wed 20 Nov 2013
Lord Adonis has expressed support for the idea of extending the Crossrail network to Reading.
The multibillion pound infrastructure upgrades will link the east and west of London and create direct connections between major business centres including the West End, the City, Canary Wharf, Paddington and Heathrow.
Reading Borough Council has been lobbying for the town to be included in the project and now Lord Adonis, transport secretary under the last Labour government, has backed the proposal.
Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire, he pointed out that as it stands, commuters from Reading will have to change trains at Maidenhead in order to use Crossrail. However, he said it has also been decided that the Great Western Main Line will be electrified "to Reading and beyond".
Lord Adonis stated that this means the cost of extending Crossrail services has "fallen dramatically"
He argued it would therefore make sense to ensure Reading is serviced by the network straight away, rather than decide to move turnaround facilities in Maidenhead to the town further down the line.
The peer added that the Department for Transport and Network Rail should start an assessment of the plan "as a matter of urgency".
This comes after Reading Borough Council insisted there is a "compelling case" for opening the network up to people in the area.
Councillor Tony Page, lead member for transport at the authority, said this would provide extra rail capacity to the region at a time when it is "much-needed". This, he stated, would in turn reduce the amount of overcrowding for train passengers and cut the number of delays.
In a letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Councillor Page pointed out that Reading is a "key, major employment centre and destination". However, he said plans to lay on two trains per hour between Reading, Twyford and Maidenhead once Crossrail is up and running are inadequate.
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