This scheme will deliver enhancements to Reading West Station in west Reading on the Reading to Basingstoke and Reading to Newbury line as well as associated highway improvements to the Oxford Road. The scheme includes new station building, multi-modal interchange and highway amendments and will improve the environment, accessibility and connectivity of the station to the surrounding area. The works aim to attract new users to the rail network and open up new journey opportunities as the current environs at Reading West Station are recognised as poor-quality and act as a barrier to accessing the rail network.
The proposals will provide a new station building on the Oxford Road, with potential ticket gates and a new retail unit, creating a presence on the Oxford Road and dramatically changing the nature of the area in terms of safety and security. There will be minor changes to the road layout to facilitate the station building and to provide a high-quality bus interchange facility and improved cycle parking. A new access has already been provided from the Oxford Road to the Basingstoke bound platform 1.
Improved integration with bus stops, provision of cycle parking and improved security are important to facilitate the area surrounding Reading West station not only as an interchange but a place where people want to spend time. Encouraging passengers to use Reading West will also relieve pressure on interchanges at Reading Central station.
The scheme is being funded through £3.1m of Local Growth Fund secured from the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP as well as £200,000 Section 106 developer contributions.
A planning application was submitted by Great Western Railway for the scheme in October 2020 and was reviewed and approved at the Council’s Planning Committee in January 2021. The full planning application can be found on the Council’s Planning Portal (planning application number 201448).
From Monday August 16th 2021 highway works and realignment works started to pave the way for the new station building on the south side of the Oxford Road. Works will include realignment of the highway to provide space for the new station building, alterations and improvements to the transport interchange on the north side of the Oxford Road and resurfacing of the footway on the north side and the highway. There will also be an extensive effort working with utility companies, including British Telecom, SSE and Virgin Media, to divert existing utility services away from the station.
Having completed its element of preparatory work the Council has handed over to Great Western Railway (GWR) and it’s contractor, Nationwide Rail, which will see construction of the brand new station building begin.
Throughout this phase of work there will be a full pavement closure on the southern side of the Oxford Road, where the work is taking place. Pedestrians will be diverted to the northern side of the Oxford Road via two signalised crossings on either side to ensure people can cross safely.
Pedestrian access to both platforms 1 and 2 will be fully maintained from the Oxford Road. The west-bound bus stop has been relocated further along Oxford Road, near to Western Elms Avenue. The eastbound bus stop, towards the town centre, remains in service. The Council is not anticipating any long periods of traffic lane closures as part of these works.
Part of the upgrade work will be a new ticket gate-line at the access to platform 1, from Tilehurst Road, at the top of the ramp, which will also be delivered by GWR’s contractors. New ticket gates at both the Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road entrances will mean access to the station is limited to paying passengers only, currently not the case, which will improve safety at the station.
GWR’s latest estimate for completion is Spring 2023.
Part of the upgrade work will see a new ticket gate-line at the access to platform 1, from Tilehurst Road, at the top of the ramp, which will also be delivered by GWR’s contractors. To facilitate these works GWR have had to close the Tilehurst Road entrance from Monday 26th September. Due to construction delays and drainage issues that have arisen from the recent extremely wet weather the reopening of the Tilehurst Road entrance has been delayed from the planned 14th November to mid December 2022.
During this period the only access to the station will be by using the Oxford Road entrances and passengers are being advised to allow additional time if they are looking to make a journey by train. Passengers looking to access the station from Tilehurst Road by foot will need to either use Western Elms Avenue or Brunswick Hill and Argyle Street to then access the station via the Oxford Road entrances.