Ministers confirm Crossrail to be extended from Maidenhead to Reading

Published: 27 Mar 2014 10:006 comments

TRANSPORT bosses have confirmed that Crossrail will be extended to Reading.

The landmark announcement was made by Rail Minister Stephen Hammond this morning, who confirmed that the high-capacity rail link will be extended the 14 miles from Maidenhead to Reading via Twyford.

Politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have battled to get the new rail route extended to connect Reading with more major London stations after the original plans were for the line to terminate at Maidenhead.

Mr Hammond said the announcement confirmed the Government’s dedication to delivering a high quality rail network and added: “It will improve connectivity and deliver greater choice and convenience for passengers travelling into London.

“It will also make better use of the already congested Great Western Main Line, freeing up capacity for further improvements including potential direct services from Reading to Heathrow as part of the Western Access Scheme.”

Under the new plans the link will be built by 2019 and will provide a slower “stopper” service without toilets or catering facilities which is expected to take 50 minutes to reach Paddington compared to the 25 minute fast Intercity service.

While Reading East MP Rob Wilson welcomed the decision, he warned that it was only the first stage and that a second phase was needed to make sure the town reaps the full benefits of the new service.

He said: “With a bit of foresight and planning, Crossrail can and should offer a direct link between Reading and central London, the City and Canary Wharf at competitive speeds, offering greater convenience and choice to Reading’s businesses, commuters and residents.”

Mr Hammond confirmed that the Department for Transport (DfT) will begin a detailed study of the benefits and costs of building additional facilities to enable faster Crossrail trains and the results are expected to be published in October.

Mr Wilson said the new infrastructure needed for a faster Crossrail could be built by 2020 or 2021 and added: “I am pleased that the rail minister has announced that the infrastructure improvements needed to deliver a more rapid and direct Crossrail service with fewer stops and faster journey times will be fully analysed as part of the next investment review.”

Reading West MP Alok Sharma also welcomed the announcement that Reading commuters will have a direct link to the City of London and Canary Wharf for the first time. He said: “This announcement is a clear recognition of Reading’s importance as an economic powerhouse and will improve further Reading’s access to the City of London and Canary Wharf.”

Borough transport leader Cllr Tony Page hailed the decision as a victory for common sense and added: "Reading Borough Council has been the consistent champion of promoting improvements to Reading Station and the need for extra train capacity into and out of the town.

"Crossrail can deliver major benefits to the Thames Valley and we will be working with the DfT and all train operators to deliver these. At last the dots have been joined up.”

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Ricky Duveen said ending the line at Reading had always been the most logical decision and added: "This decision also confirms that Reading is the beating heart of the Thames Valley and cannot simply be ignored on such a major project as Crossrail."

Andy Malone, sales director of Atlantis Property, added: “This can only be seen as positive news for Reading and the wider area, not only in terms of the eventual improvement in journey times between Reading and London, but more so as a clear indication of the level of confidence the Government has in the town by deciding that Reading will provide the West terminus for Crossrail.

“It is however vital that the second phase is pushed through to ensure that Reading continues to develop into a major hub of economic activity not only in the UK, but within Europe.”

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  • Wisernow
    42 posts
    Mar 27, 12:58
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    Great news for Reading from the Government. We should all should welcome this decision.

    Recommend?   Yes 5     No 0

  • brokepensioner
    Unregistered User
    Mar 27, 23:05
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    I seem to recall that the Labour Council under a certain Mr. Salter, did not wish to

    have the cross-rail line coming to Reading. If this is the case, it shows how times

    change, when the Labour Leader on television today said, (.....because the present Government did not bring this in to the original plans etc..." ) Whom do we believe I wonder . The main thing is that Cross Rail is coming. What is an absolute outrage though, is the report that there will be a slow train which will take fifty minutes to and fro London, which will not have a toilet for the facility of those passengers who travel on it. This should be thrown out altogether until one is provided for passengers. What do passengers in wheelchairs do , the elderly, those having waited for so long for the damned train to arrive that they are put to absolute misery by this. Waken up Great Western Rail, put your passengers first for a change. Stop treating us like cattle, for that is what it will be still in 2019 with whatever you introduce. Why can't you provide underground connections to platforms , then we would not have to climb up stairs every time to travel, then to be told the train is departing from another platform from the one you are waiting on etc. From the present sad state of inconvenience for travellers, you must have all studied the Japanese system of employing packers to squeeze as many passengers into a carriage, like sardines in a tin, than to realise that we are all human individual beings. Boy oh boy, do you need an idea what the end product is like these days. Your contact with the average train passenger is as bad as the politicians idea of the real people who have to work very hard and are forced to pay high prices for inferior service.

    Recommend?   Yes 7     No 1

  • Sterling77
    Unregistered User
    Mar 28, 05:58
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    This is excellent news at last for Reading and other towns in the Thames Valley. It has taken a Conservative led Coalition Government to deliver where Labour failed. It is a pity under a former Labour Government, when Mr Darling was Transport Minister, Reading failed to feature in these plans. Darling said at the time there had been no application from Labour controlled Reading Borough Council and quote, 'Reading had shown no interest'. Poor, hard working Jane Griffiths (former Labour MP Reading East) had been pushing for 'crossrail' but sadly not supported by her local Labour Party, RBC, nor by a dysfunctional Labour colleague, so Reading lost out. I am sure she, along with the many thousands of Reading commuters, will be very pleased to see this massive project is now finally extending as a result of Tory MPs Rob Wilson & Alok Sharma endeavours.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • Huntley Palmer
    Unregistered User
    Mar 28, 10:12
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    brokepensioner

    Crossrail in its original form predates the Coalition Government. Crossrail is nothing to do with First Great Western as it will be a wholly new train company managed mainly by TfL rather than Central Government. There are no toilets beacuse it is designed as a metro style commuter railway for central london - more akin to the Tube than the fast express trains that link Reading and London. Those express trains will still be running in parallel to Crossrail so you will still be able to use a toilet and have a fast link to London, Crossrail is not intended to cater for most commuters from Reading but should add capacity and provide people with options.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 2

  • democracyatwork
    135 posts
    Mar 30, 13:35
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    Proposing to have no toilets on the train is a disgrace and shows a complete lack of understanding of a commuters experience on a daily basis.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • Mischievous
    Unregistered User
    Apr 5, 10:38
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    Two slow trains per hour on existing lines is not to be celebrated and hardly of any benefit to the town. More waste, waste, waste of public funds! Why do we want more people waiting to get out of Reading?

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 1