Sharma welcomes Crossrail extension to Reading

Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has today welcomed the news announced today by Transport Minister Stephen Hammond, that Crossrail will be extended to Reading.

The announcement means that from 2019, Reading commuters will benefit from an increased number of trains into Paddington station and for the first time, will have direct access to the City of London and Canary Wharf, without having to change trains.

Alok Sharma said: “I have been discussing the case for extending Crossrail to Reading with the Department for Transport for some time and I therefore welcome this announcement. Frankly, this extension should have happened under the last government and the increase in capacity between Reading and London will help to ease some of the congestion on this busy line.”

Alok continued: “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.”

Under previous proposals the introduction of Crossrail as far as Maidenhead would have reduced the number of semi-fast trains from Reading to London from 4 trains per hour to 2 trains per hour. Alok has been lobbying Ministers to ensure that this did not negatively impact Great Western line services.

In a letter to Alok, Transport Minister Stephen Hammond confirmed that the extension of Crossrail to Reading will mean the continuation of the current four trains per hour semi fast service between Reading and London, wider connectivity for passengers travelling from Reading and enhanced flexibility for future timetabling.

The Minister also confirmed that the Department for Transport is consulting with Network Rail about the possibility of introducing additional loop facilities that would enable faster trains to overtake stopping services, which could speed up Crossrail journeys between Reading and Central London.

Alok continued: “I look forward to the outcome of the Western Route Study, due to be published in the autumn and I will be continuing to lobby Transport ministers for improvements that will benefit Reading commuters.”