'Smoother, more reliable rail journeys' following completion of Reading viaduct
The project is designed to bring smoother, more reliable services through Reading by allowing passenger and freight trains to travel on separate lines through the town.
Sunday’s 8am London Paddington to Penzance service was the first train to pass over the new £100m, 2,000-metre viaduct, built by Network Rail.
It called at Reading at 8.38am and, having traversed the viaduct, Didcot Parkway at 8.56am.
The viaduct formed part of the £895m project to redevelop Reading Station, which has already seen five new platforms created, which were opened by The Queen in July, and a complete refurbishment of the station.
Managing director of First Great Western, Mark Hopwood, said: “The Reading viaduct is a fantastic feat of engineering that unblocks a major bottleneck on the Great Western mainline.
“It will bring immediate results to our train service performance and deliver longer-term benefits for customers between now and the summer.
“We thank our passengers for their patience over the festive period while the viaduct was completed.”
Managing director for the western route at Network Rail, Patrick Hallgate, added: “The completion of the viaduct is another significant step in our redevelopment of the Reading station area and will enable passengers to benefit from reduced journey times, an increase in services and ultimately a better travelling experience.”
The redevelopment project is due to be completed this summer.