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London Crossrail service extended to Reading

Words: Roger Milne
Crossrail train

Crossrail will now carry passengers into London from as far west as Reading, the Department for Transport and Transport for London have announced.

The newly-announced extension will see the east-west rail service stretch beyond Maidenhead to incorporate two new destinations – Twyford and Reading itself. Reading station is currently undergoing a £900m upgrade that is due to be completed in 2015.
The increased service will use existing rail lines and offer two trains per hour from Reading to Paddington. Though journey times will not actually increase, Crossrail’s 200 metre-long trains offer greater carrying capacity than existing stock – up to 1,500 passengers.
Announcing the extension, rail minister Stephen Hammond said: “It will make better use of the already congested Great Western mainline, freeing up capacity for further improvements, including potential direct services from Reading to Heathrow.”
The minister added that he had asked Network Rail to look at the cost benefit analysis of increasing the number of faster trains between Reading and Paddington.
Crossrail, which will now serve Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, is due to open in stages between May 2017 (Liverpool Street to Shenfield) and December 2019 (full service).
Once complete, the line will boost London’s rail-based capacity by 10 per cent, speed up journeys and provide 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel at peak times.