East-west rail line will serve two additional stations, Twyford and Reading
Crossrail will now run to Reading after the joint sponsors, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL), instructed Crossrail Limited to extend the route.
The extension will see the east-west rail line serve two additional stations, Twyford and Reading, serving a total of 40 stations along the entire route, when the line fully opens in 2019.
Extending Crossrail to Reading opens up a wider network of destinations across, and beyond, central London and extends the benefits of a direct connection between London’s main employment centres and reduced journey times to even more people, said the sponsors. The extension would also help to meet increases in passenger numbers by providing greater capacity than the previous plans.
There will be two trains an hour from Reading, and the change will also provide greater flexibility for future timetabling of services, said the joint sponsors.
TfL and DfT say they have worked closely with Crossrail Limited and Network Rail to ensure the best use is made of the Great Western main line: ‘extending Crossrail to Reading helps passenger and freight services to operate in a more effective way. There will be no change to the planned Great Western services from Reading to London with twice hourly semi-fast services and fast main line services continuing to operate and call at the same stations as today. Crossrail will serve Maidenhead with four trains per hour.’
The current planning assumption is that new Crossrail trains will be introduced to run Crossrail services as follows:
- Liverpool Street to Shenfield – May 2017;
- Heathrow to Paddington (main line platforms) – May 2018 (Crossrail concession takes over Heathrow Connect);
- Paddington (Crossrail platforms) to Abbey Wood – December 2018;
- Paddington (Crossrail platforms) to Shenfield – May 2019;
- Full through service (including services to Reading) – December 2019.
Rail Minister, Stephen Hammond, said extending Crossrail to Reading will make better use of the already congested Great Western main line, freeing up capacity for further improvements including potential direct services from Reading to Heathrow as part of the Western Access Scheme. ‘In addition, I have requested Network Rail to look at the cost benefit analysis of increasing the number of faster trains between Reading and Paddington.’
Crossrail is due to be fully operational by the end of 2019. The line will boost London’s rail-based capacity by 10%, connecting Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. There will be up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak, says Crossrail.