Reading rail station reopens after £850m revamp begins

Plans for Reading railway station.
Image caption Reading railway station is being remodelled by Network Rail in a £850m overhaul

Reading railway station has reopened to passengers after it was closed for the first step of a £850m overhaul.

Network Rail has started its remodelling of the station, which will include five more platforms, two additional entrances and a new viaduct.

Major re-signalling works have meant no trains have run through the station since Monday.

A bank holiday timetable will operate throughout New Year's Eve with the station due to fully reopen on Tuesday.

The lifting into place of a new 1,000-tonne railway bridge will also reduce services over the new year weekend, with full closures at certain times.

The main bridge lift is likely to start from 2100 GMT.

New platforms

A Network Rail spokesman said its programme of Christmas works was progressing well.

"The transfer of signalling control for the Reading area to the Thames Valley Signalling Centre was completed on plan on Thursday morning, meaning that trains have been able to start running again today."

Image caption The work to lift the bridge into place is expected to take about five hours

Network Rail advised passengers to check the National Rail website for the latest updates.

Caversham Road has also been closed since Thursday and will remain shut until Monday morning, while the bridge is lifted into place.

The new 1,000-tonne railway bridge will eventually carry rail track to new platforms.

Work to reorganise traffic flows and road layouts around Reading town centre ahead of the project began in June.

Sue Evans, from First Great Western, said a full route was expected to be open to the west of England and South Wales from Sunday lunchtime.

She said: "During Saturday and Sunday we will be running stopping services calling at stations between Paddington and Reading.

"Services between Reading and Gatwick and Reading, Basingstoke, Newbury and Bedwyn will also be running on Saturday and Sunday."

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