Crossrail To Be Extended To Key Commuter Town
The Government has confirmed the Crossrail line is to be extended to another major commuter town west of London.
The fast-train service - to run from Shenfield in Essex, through London with arms to Heathrow Airport and Abbey Wood in south east London - was due to end at Maidenhead but it has been decided to take the route further west to Reading via Twyford.
The scheme - due to cost almost £15bn in total - will be fully operational by 2019 and help boost London's rail capacity by 10%.
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said the decision meant passengers travelling to London from Reading and other Thames Valley stations would be able to reach more destinations across London without the need to change at Paddington.
Once operational, Crossrail services are expected to serve Maidenhead on a four-trains-per-hour basis as originally planned, with two of these services continuing to Reading via Twyford.
He added the Reading extension would also generate some cost savings from reduced infrastructure enhancements at Maidenhead and Slough and only minor works would be required at Twyford and Reading to accommodate Crossrail.
Mary Creagh, Labour's shadow transport secretary, welcomed the decision and said: "Labour in government safeguarded the potential Crossrail route from Maidenhead to Reading.
"This is good news for commuters struggling with a cost-of-living crisis and will make the most of Labour's investment in Reading station, which should help the Thames Valley economy to grow faster."
The Crossrail services will complement improved Great Western franchise services from Reading to London.
Mr Hammond said there would be no change to the planned twice hourly, semi-fast services and existing fast mainline services.