Passenger services begin at Reading Green Park on Saturday (May 27th) as the town’s first new station in 116 years open its doors.
A special celebration event was held at Reading Green Park on Thursday, with a plaque unveiled to mark the town’s first new station since Reading West in July 1906.
Reading Green Park is the first of three new Great Western Railway (GWR) stations opening this year, along with Portway Park & Ride in Bristol and Marsh Barton in Exeter.
It will provide improved sustainable travel options for local residents and businesses in the Green Park area, as well as fans attending events at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, home of Reading Football Club.
The first service from Reading Green Park will leave at 0638 towards Reading on Saturday morning, and at 0550 towards Basingstoke.
The station, built by Reading Borough Council, Network Rail and GWR, features:
- Two 150m platforms;
- A new fully accessible station building;
- A fully accessible overbridge, providing access to both platforms, via stairs and lifts;
- A bus interchange, taxi rank and cycle parking facilities;
- Two car parks, including 12 blue badge spaces and drop-off parking and long-stay parking for commuters.
The station sits on the Reading to Basingstoke line, with half-hourly services running north to Reading and south to Basingstoke through the day.
The delivery of the station has been made possible by the Council leading alongside the rail industry to secure the approvals, funding and planning permission for the station, as well as managing the construction of the station.
Reading Borough Council’s newly-elected Mayor, Cllr Tony Page, said: “Reading Green Park station will form an integral part of Reading’s ever-growing sustainable transport infrastructure.
“The new multi-modal interchange will dramatically improve accessibility and connectivity to this important area of south Reading. The future expansion of the business park and residential areas on Green Park, as well as the proposed Royal Elm Park mixed use development, will all benefit from the new station.
“It will also be another option for football fans heading to the stadium on match days, again taking the pressure off our busy local roads.”
Reading West MP, Sir Alok Sharma, said: “Having first made the case for Green Park station in Parliament in May 2014 and lobbied government ministers over the years, I am delighted that the station is now finally opening thanks to millions of pounds government funding. The new station is good news for passengers and increased connectivity and will provide a boost to the local economy.”
Berkshire LEP Chief Executive, Alison Webster, said: “Reading Green Park station is a significant project for the LEP having been awarded £9.7m Local Growth Funds as part of Berkshire LEP’s first Growth Deal in 2014. We have been working with partners, Reading Borough Council, GWR and Network Rail to deliver this fantastic new station for Reading and the surrounding area.
“Green Park Station has already supported nearly 2,000 new jobs, 1,500 homes and over 20,000mq of commercial floorspace. We are delighted to have supported such an important development for the Berkshire area.”
GWR Business Development Director, Tom Pierpoint, said: “New stations such as Reading Green Park are vital in bringing the railway closer to people as we all become more mindful to live and travel more sustainably.
“Reading Green Park is one of three GWR stations to open this year along with Marsh Barton in Exeter and Portway Park & Ride in Bristol and we are excited for the benefits these stations will bring to local residents, businesses and leisure travellers in the areas they will serve.”
In addition to Reading Green Park station, Reading’s public transport offer continues to go from strength to strength, with work on the transformation of Reading West station continuing at pace and also due to complete this year.
The recently completed Elizabeth line also offers travellers to and from Reading modern trains and a seamless transition into central or east London without having to change to the tube at Paddington.
Network Rail Industry Programme Director – Heathrow & Thames Valley, Joanna Grew, said: “We’re delighted Reading Green Park station will soon open. It will play an important role in connecting communities between Reading and Basingstoke through regular and reliable sustainable transport while reducing the level of traffic on the A33.
“We look forward to continuing our work with GWR and our other industry partners to provide the best service possible across the Thames Valley and including Reading Green Park.”
St Edward Homes Ltd Executive Chairman, Paul Vallone, said: “We’re immensely proud of our long-term commitment to the communities in which we build new homes and public amenities. The launch of a new railway station on the site of our Bankside Gardens development is testimony to our close collaboration with our partners and stakeholders in Reading, and to delivering infrastructure to the wider community as well as for our residents.
“People living at Bankside Gardens, and those visiting the area for its green spaces or to work at Green Park Business Park, will now benefit from even greater travel connections to Reading town centre and onwards to London, already excellent thanks to the launch of Crossrail in Reading town centre last year.
“The highly-anticipated delivery of Reading Green Park station marks a significant and exciting milestone for Bankside Gardens, and for St Edward and the Berkeley Group.”
Photo credit: Great Western Railway