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Network Rail, Reading Christmas work wins commendations

The honour recognised partnership working between Network Rail, First Great Western, Bechtel, Network Rail’s delivery partner, and contractors including BAM Nuttall and Invensys.

The commendation was welcomed by Network Rail programme director Robbie Burns and First Great Western managing director, Mark Hopwood, at a ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Robbie Burns said: “Last Christmas was the launch pad for our five year project to transform Reading’s railway. We resignalled 100 miles of railway and installed a brand new 1,000 tonne bridge, reopening the railway on time, ready for commuters to return to work in the New Year.

“Teamwork was the secret of our success. By working in partnership with First Great Western and the other train and freight operators we were able to minimise disruption to the travelling public. Network Rail engineers and our contractors delivered to the highest standards, working round the clock through freezing conditions to get the job done on schedule.”

Mark Hopwood said: “This was a huge project for Network Rail, and had the potential to impact thousands of our customers’ journeys. By working together we minimised the effect of the work on our passengers through robust planning, innovative use of alternative routes and clear communication.


“As a result, we received more praise from customers about the success of the project was handled than complaints.”

Wayne Chin, programme implementation director for Network Rail’s delivery partner, Bechtel, said: “We’re delighted to have helped deliver this hugely ambitious project. The results are testimony to what can be achieved through collaboration and partnership working among the rail industry and its partners.”

Over Christmas 2010 Network Rail upgraded signalling control for 100 miles of railway and installed a new 1,000 tonne rail bridge over Caversham Road in Reading.

The work represented the first steps in an overhaul of Reading’s railway that will see five new platforms and two new entrances at the station, and a viaduct to take fast lines over slower ones, increasing capacity and cutting delays.

The engineering work last Christmas affected train services on the Great Western Main Line over a 10 day period. In a report published earlier this year, Passenger Focus praised Network Rail, First Great Western and other train operators’ efforts to keep trains running and communicate disruption to passengers.


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