Berkshire

Reading rail station's £850m upgrade to finish early

Reading's £850m railway and station revamp will be completed a year early, and is now scheduled to finish in 2015.

It is hoped the works will ease one of the UK's largest rail bottlenecks.

Network Rail is building five more platforms to combat congestion, as well as creating two entrances and a bridge to give passengers better access.

There will be a new train depot and the two Cow Lane bridges will be widened, which will ease traffic congestion near Reading West station.

Further west a new flyover will separate the heavy freight trains heading north from Southampton docks from the Great Western main line.

Network Rail's major programme director Robbie Burns said the project was "more than just upgrading a station".

"We're building a viaduct, constructing new bridges and embankments, making massive alterations to track layout, renewing signalling and building a train depot, " he said.

Network Rail's revised programme amalgamates three separate pieces of engineering work at Easter 2013, which will see new entrances and platforms brought into use at the station.

Reading's new train depot will be open for use at the end of 2013, and work on Cow Lane bridges will be completed in 2014.

The project will complete in 2015, following big alterations to the track layout including the construction of a viaduct to take fast lines over slower ones.

An exhibition on plans for Reading's railway opens to the public on Thursday and will run until Saturday.

Network Rail engineers will be on hand to answer questions and explain their plans.

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