Network Rail has announced that Reading station has been named the UK’s Best Major Station at the National Rail Awards.
The station is owned and managed by Network Rail and sees 25 million people pass through the station each year, and has seen improvements recently to help it be named the best major station.
The improvements completed included a major refurbishment of the toilets, free water fountains, more seating, and more signage amongst the variety of improvements.
£900m has been spent at Reading in the past decade to transform it into a major transport hub as part of the Great Western mainline electrification.
Andy Phillips, Network Rail’s station manager for Reading station, said: “I am delighted that Reading is officially the best major station in the country.
“It feels amazing for my team to be recognised for all the hard work they’ve done at Reading station. In the last year, the station has continued to put passengers first by continuously striving to improve the customer experience, as well as Network Rail and GWR delivering the biggest timetable change in December 2019 since the 70s.
“Since COVID-19, things may have changed in the short-term, however the station has continued to deliver customer improvement projects, such as the Brunel Toilet refurbishment and the Lift Safety campaign, while a robust cleaning regime has been introduced in the station to reassure our customers that it is safe to travel by train. The station celebrated its 180th birthday in March 2020, and as part of this, a history vinyl timeline has been installed on the Transfer Deck showing the changes over the station’s 180 years”.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “This is a well-deserved accolade for Reading Station which has been completely transformed in recent years. It is not only an instantly recognisable landmark on Reading and the region’s skyline, but a world class facility for the many thousands of Reading residents and Reading employees who use the station every day.
“The station is unique in that in as many people use it to commute into Reading as those who commute out. From the Council’s perspective it was absolutely imperative that we delivered modern new transport interchanges to both the north and south of the new station to complement the new station itself and to make sustainable travel choices to and from the station a realistic option for commuters.
“The final result is a modern and spacious new gateway for Reading which befits its place as de facto capital of the Thames Valley and an economic powerhouse in the south east region.”
Alison Webster, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire Loal Enterprise Partner (LEP) said: “Reading is a key asset for the economy of Berkshire – it was recently voted the third best destination in Europe (behind Dublin and Amsterdam) for Foreign Direct Investment for company headquarters – and this success is due in no small measure to its unbeatable connectivity, of which Reading railway station is a vital component. LEP funding has also gone into other Reading rail stations, such as Green Park, Reading West and Theale, all of which will further enhance local connectivity and in due course encourage greater modal shift away from cars and back onto public transport.”
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