Reading station is one of the busiest rail hubs in Britain, used by nearly 20m passengers a year. Network Rail has rebuilt the station and upgraded the railway in the Reading area, including redesigning the complicated track layout. This has removed one of the worst bottlenecks on the rail network.
VolkerRail’s involvement in the Reading Area Station Redevelopment (RSAR) project began in 2011.
Initial works saw VolkerRail Kirow KRC 250 cranes, working in tandem, to install five switch and crossing (S&C) units, to enable access to platforms four, five and six. The Kirow KRC 250 cranes were chosen for the lighter axle loadings when working in tandem.
Over the whole redevelopment, VolkerRail installed a total of 86 complete S&C units ranging from small ‘B’ turnouts, within the new maintenance depot, to high speed ‘G ‘ turnouts, on the main lines; utilising its Kirow KRC 250’s, Kirow KRC 810 and Kirow KRC 1200 cranes.
Core work was completed over weekend possessions, with major installation projects taking place over Easter and Christmas blockades. The Easter blockade of 2013 saw 110 panels, ranging from 30 to 60 foot in length, removed for the major remodelling of the eastern station throat and a further 56 panels installed over.
Following four years of successful installations, the new track and platforms have reduced queue and congestion time, for trains entering and leaving the station.
The new track layout has made room for six extra freight trains each day; taking around 200 lorries off the roads.
The new refurbished station at Reading was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in July 2014, after being completed a year ahead of schedule. By summer 2015 upgrading the railway in the surrounding area was finished.