Berkshire

London Crossrail plans extended to Reading

Reading station upgrade work Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Reading station is currently undergoing a £897m expansion and upgrade

The London Crossrail project will be extended beyond Maidenhead to Reading, the government has announced.

Trains were due to run from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west, to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.

Using existing tracks the new 200m (650ft) trains, able to take up to 1,500 passengers, will run from Reading to London Paddington.

The service will see two trains running every hour into London, taking 50 minutes - no faster than they are now.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: "I have requested Network Rail to look at the cost-benefit analysis of increasing the number of faster trains between Reading and Paddington.

"It will also 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."

Work on the £14.8bn service started in May 2009. The first Crossrail services through central London will start in late 2018.

Reading Station is currently undergoing a £900m upgrade which is due to be completed in 2015.

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