Queen opens revamped Reading railway station

image copyrightPA
image captionThe Queen arrived on a scheduled First Great Western train from London Paddington station

The Queen has officially opened the revamped Reading railway station.

It has undergone a £897m upgrade with five new platforms, two entrances, a new link bridge and retail outlets.

It was the second time the Queen has opened a Reading Station upgrade, after first visiting in April 1989 to officially unveil a £20m redevelopment.

The Queen arrived at the station, which remained open during her visit, on a scheduled First Great Western train from Paddington station in London.

She met staff who have been involved in the project, unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion, and also named the engineering train set to electrify the railway from London to Swansea.

The Queen was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, the Hon Mary Bayliss, spoke to dignitaries including transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by children.

image copyrightPA
image captionThe Queen met engineers who worked on the project

She also patted guide dogs Breck and Orla, who have been used to help with the design of the station's accessibility.

The High Output Plant system (Hops) train - which the Queen named "Brunel" after the great Victorian engineer - has been dubbed a "factory on wheels".

It will be used on the main line upgrade from London Paddington to Cardiff, which is scheduled for completion by 2017, with the extension to Swansea planned for 2018.

The works to modernise Reading station started in 2009 and while the station redevelopment is complete, work continues on the construction of a new viaduct set to be completed next summer.

The official opening and naming ceremonies were relayed to a large screen outside the station's northern entrance.

image captionThe Queen met local MPs Alok Sharma (left) and Rob Wilson (second from left) at the station opening
image copyrightPA
image captionThe station remained opened during the Queen's visit
image copyrightPA
image captionThe Queen was presented with bouquets of flowers by the crowds
image captionReading station has been undergoing a £897m expansion and upgrade

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