3 Mar 2022

Reading on track to deliver major rail investment in 2022

As Reading eagerly awaits the Queen’s decision on the City Status Bid, the town is far from standing still. Reading continues to build its visitor welcome as one of the most accessible and sustainable public transport locations in the country, with major rail investment due for delivery in 2022. Reading UK's Executive Director, Nigel Horton-Baker outlines the investment plans, asking what it means for the future of Reading.

Crossrail train

Rail is at the heart of this infrastructure investment, a factor that will be attract property investors and developers, global businesses, the regional workforce and visitors. Indeed, Reading’s first-class connectivity is the single biggest reason we attract such high levels of investment and will continue to do so according to the recent report by EY.

Central to attracting and delivering successful transport investment for Reading is a strategic approach through partnership, one that links Reading locally, regionally and nationally through the rail network and includes multi-modal transport interchanges. So what do we have to look forward to in 2022?

Three key rail infrastructure projects will come to fruition in 2022.

Elizabeth Line

The game-changer rail network project is Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line. The completed Elizabeth Line literally puts Reading on the London transport map. Recent updates from Crossrail provide confidence that the completed end-to-end Elizabeth Line is almost with us. The delayed central section is scheduled to open before the summer and while the line will continue to run as three separate railways for some months, it is expected that the already completed Reading - Paddington section will connect up with the central underground section this autumn to create one seamless journey from Reading into central London, the City and Docklands.

Crossrail map

A sustainable onward journey link in Reading is already in place with bus interchanges both south and north of the station, maps on the station forecourt and easy walking to town centre offices, shops and businesses.

The economic impact of this massive infrastructure investment on Reading has been evident since the project was first sanctioned almost ten years ago, bringing new investment in housing and office developments and business relocations to take advantage of Reading’s ever-improving connectivity.

Look no further than Berkeley Homes Huntley Wharf community or Blue Chip companies such as Three and Virgin Media who have consolidated their HQs in Reading in recent years to take advantage of the dual transport arteries, the M4 and Crossrail.

This seamless connectivity with central London, the City and Docklands will be especially beneficial for Reading’s innovation strengths, connecting entrepreneurs, digital businesses and London-based financiers in innovation such as the angel investor networks.

The Elizabeth Line will also help Reading UK in its work to promote leisure tourism to the area by providing a leisure travel friendly option to global and UK visitor coming via London and Heathrow as they embark on the first leg of the Great West Way national trail or head to the departure point of the medieval St James’ Way pilgrim route from Reading to the south coast and onto Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Green Park Station

Major works are well under way at Green Park Station and a new footbridge linking the two platforms is now in position. The Station is expected to be open for public use by June 2022.

Green Park Station aerial panorama

Green Park Station will sit on the Reading to Basingstoke line and will be served by a half-hourly service throughout the day. The station will consist of two platforms with disabled access and a multi-modal interchange with a surface level car park, bus stops, taxi rank and cycle parking.

When open, the new station will help to alleviate queues on the busy A33, significantly improve accessibility to the south Reading area where large-scale development is taking place, including the expansion of Green Park Business Park and Green Park Village as well as serving the football club. The station will be served by buses operating on the Council’s South Reading Mass Rapid Transit route between Mereoak park & ride and Reading town centre.

Reading West Station

The often-overlooked Reading West Station which provides a service to residents and visitors to the west side of Reading is also undergoing an upgrade via a partnership between Reading Borough Council, Great Western Railway and Network Rail. A new station building on the Oxford Road forms the centrepiece of the improvements, which include new ticket gates at the Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road entrances, new toilets and a retail facility, all which will significantly improve safety and security. A new bus interchange and improved cycle parking also form part of the scheme, as do improvements to the Tilehurst Road entrance, creating a new and much improved station environment at Reading West.

ReadingWest201130_View from North evening (1)

Reading is building a more sustainable way for people to move into and around Reading. These major rail projects will help deliver people to Reading sustainably. Thereafter, we can and we are putting people top of the travel hierarchy by prioritising walking, cycling and Reading’s great bus network for onward journeys. 2022 is an exciting year and these schemes will make sure Reading is literally “on the map.”

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