Transport minister Theresa Villiers visited Reading today to confirm that the £850m funding for the railway upgrade project is safe following the government’s comprehensive spending review.
Speaking whilst on a tour of the project construction site, the minister said: “Reading is an exciting project and I’m delighted to confirm support for this major upgrade. The railway at Reading is one of the busiest parts of the network and our investment here will support the economic growth of the region.
“Like every other item of government spending, the Reading scheme has been very carefully reviewed and it’s great that it’s passed the Comprehensive Spending Review test.”
Network Rail major programme director Robbie Burns welcomed the minister’s visit. “Britain relies on rail and the minister’s support for our project at Reading is a great vote of confidence for Network Rail’s plans for a bigger, better, value-for-money railway,” he said.
“This is a vital scheme for the future of the Western route. The project will benefit not only Reading but people along the length of the line in places like Swindon, Bath, South Wales, and the West Country.
“We’re on schedule, on budget and looking forward to completing the first stage of our work this Christmas.”
The first stage of work on the project is due to be completed this Christmas when Network Rail will renew the signalling system for the entire Reading area and replace the rail bridge over Caversham Road to make way for new track above. The work will mean a reduced train service through Reading over the Christmas and New Year period.