With five days to go until Christmas, 250 Network Rail engineers and contractors prepared to deliver the first phase of a six-year project to upgrade Reading’s railway.
Between Christmas Day and 3 January, Network Rail will complete the resignaling of 100 miles of railway around Reading, and lift a 1,000 tonne railway bridge into place over Caversham Road. The work will require 16,000 man hours, take ten days to complete, and is the biggest engineering upgrade Network Rail is undertaking anywhere on Britain’s railway this Christmas.
Bill Henry, project director for Network Rail in Reading said: “The work we’re doing this Christmas is the launch pad for our project to improve Reading’s station and railway. The bridge we’re setting in place over Caversham Road will provide space for track to serve new platforms at the station; and the state of the art signalling technology we’re installing will allow us to make huge changes to the track layout to increase capacity and cut delays. This work will benefit passengers along the entire Western route, from south Wales and the south west to London.
“We’ve been planning and preparing for this work for well over a year now. We’re right ready to go and I’m excited to get started.”
The work over the Christmas period will mean substantial changes to train services through Reading, affecting the entire Western route. No trains will be able to run through Reading from 27-30 December, with an amended timetable in place until 4 January (the first working day of the New Year). Passengers will still be able to reach their destinations, with diversionary routes in place wherever possible to reduce the need for replacement bus services. Passengers should check the details of their journeys before they travel to see how they’re affected.
Work to replace the rail bridge over Caversham Road will require the closure of Caversham Road between Tudor Road (Station Hill) and Caversham Road roundabout from 8pm on 30 December 2010 to 6am on 3 January 2011. Members of the public will be able to view the bridge lift from Caversham Road (the Caversham side of the railway tracks). The main lift is scheduled to take place on the morning of New Year’s Day.