Government confirms Crossrail extension to Reading
Thu 27 Mar 2014
The government has confirmed plans to extend the Crossrail line westwards to Reading.
Under the plans, two Crossrail trains will depart from the town every hour to serve London, with this announcement not affecting existing services on the Great Western Railways line from the town to Paddington. Two new stations will be added to the Crossrail network - Reading itself and Twyford.
Rail minister Stephen Hammond said the plans were a demonstration of the commitment of ministers to creating a "transport network fit for the 21st century".
He added that by "freeing up capacity" on existing Great Western services between Reading and the capital, it opened up the possibility of running services between the town and Heathrow Airport.
In addition to this, Mr Hammond said he had instructed Network Rail to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the possibility of increasing the number of fast trains from Reading to Paddington.
Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground and London Rail, said the Reading move would help "create better extensions and services" across the capital and beyond.
The decision to expand the system comes after extensive lobbying from Reading Borough Council and the local authority has welcomed the news.
Last year, its leader Tony Page wrote to the government to press the case for an extension, citing the benefits to commuters in the Thames Valley, the status it would give Reading as a major economic centre in the south-east region and the maximisation of the new redevelopment of Reading station - with more platforms and greater capacity - as being the chief reasons for such an enterprise.
Commenting on the announcement, he said "common sense has prevailed", noting that the redeveloped Reading station has the space and design configurations to accommodate Crossrail.
The extension to Reading and Twyford means Crossrail will now serve eight stations in Berkshire, stopping at Maidenhead, Taplow, Burnham, Slough, Langley and Iver before crossing into Greater London.
It means travellers from Reading will be able to connect with the main London stations at Paddington and Liverpool Street, as well as 11 interchanges with Underground or Docklands Light Railway services.
For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact our Transport and Infrastructure Team.
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