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Planning Application Submitted for Reading West Station Improvements

A planning application has been submitted for major improvements to Reading West Station.

A brand new station building, with new ticket gates at the Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road entrances, new toilets and a retail facility, all form the centrepiece of the £3.3 million project which will significantly improve safety and security.

Outside the station an improved bus interchange will be built, making it more attractive for commuters to easily swap from bus to train, alongside improved cycle parking. There will also be improvements to the Tilehurst Road entrance as part of the proposal.

The planning application has been submitted by Great Western Railway (GWR), working in partnership with Reading Borough Council and Network Rail, and is expected to be considered in the coming months. If approved, work is due to start by March 2021 with the project taking approximately a year to complete.

Reading West Station sits just off the busy Oxford Road and is on the Reading to Basingstoke and Reading to Newbury line. The project aims to attract even more commuters to the rail network as it will be a significant upgrade to the current facilities at Reading West.

If approved, there will be minor changes to the road layout to make room for the improved bus interchange and cycle facilities. New access has already been provided for rail travellers from the Oxford Road to the Basingstoke-bound platform 1.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “Regular rail users will recognise that Reading West Station has been in need of a major facelift for many years. This joint Council and GWR project will deliver a modern new station building which will be safer and more welcoming for local residents and regular commuters.

“It will boast new ticket gates at both the Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road entrances, new toilets and a café, all of which will deter instances of anti-social behaviour. In addition there will be an improved bus interchange and cycle parking, making for a seamless transition from bus and bike to train.

“The project at Reading West runs parallel with work already underway to create a brand new railway station at Green Park, which sits on the same Basingstoke line as Reading West, and will be served by a 20 minute service north to Reading and south to Basingstoke through the day. Green Park Station will consist of two platforms with disabled access, including fully accessible toilet facilities, and a multi-modal interchange with a surface level car park and drop-off facility, bus stops, taxi rank and cycle parking. Construction at Green Park is now progressing at pace and the station is expected to be open for passenger use next summer.

“Making sustainable forms of transport, such as rail travel, realistic and attractive for commuters is a key element of our new Reading Transport Strategy 2036 which will be finalised early next year, and will play an essential  role in helping Reading to achieve its net zero carbon target by 2030.”

Nicola Scott, Interim Regional Development Manager East at GWR said: “We are delighted to be working with Reading Borough Council and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to modernise Reading West station. These changes will not only improve the station for our customers, they will support the local and regional economy once it starts to recover, and will mean a cleaner, greener environment from better transport integration.

“We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures. But, please do check before you travel.”

Mike Gallop, Western Route Director at Network Rail, said: “I am delighted to reach this milestone in the development of Reading West station. This is a great example of how we are working collaboratively to build back better; improving passenger experience when travelling on our network is just one step in giving the people of Reading confidence to return to using public transport when we start recovering from the pandemic.”

The Reading West Station project is funded by £3.1m Local Growth Funding from Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, £200,000 Section 106 funding secured by Reading Borough Council and funding from GWR through its Stations Improvement Fund.

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