Reading railway station to be managed by Network Rail

Reading Station
Image caption There is currently only one retail unit on the new passenger bridge at Reading

Network Rail will take over the running of Reading station from April.

Six new retailers will also open for business on the new passenger footbridge at the upgraded station from spring.

The station, which is undergoing a £895m redevelopment, is currently managed by First Great Western.

Shops including Hotel Chocolat, Boots, The Cornish Pasty Company, Upper Crust, Cards Galore and Oliver Bonas will occupy the new units.

They will join Starbucks, currently the only retailer operating on the passenger bridge.

Shops in the Brunel Centre, in the old station concourse, will continue to trade as normal.

'Same faces'

Julian Burnell from Network Rail said: "We hold the freehold on all stations, but train companies lease them from us.

"Sometimes if it's a particularly big station, like Reading, where more than one operator uses it, it makes sense for us to take care of all the behind-the-scenes administration.

"There won't be any changes in the level of service passengers receive and it will almost certainly be the same faces."

Network Rail is also set to take over the management of Bristol Temple Meads station from First Great Western in spring.

The final phase of improvements in Reading will see the completion of a new 2km (1.4-mile) viaduct which officials say will unblock a bottleneck west of the station and cut delays on the Great Western Main Line.

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