Friday, October 19, 2012

A Walk Around Reading Station ~ 19 October 2012

Today ~ 19th October 2012 ~ I was privileged to return to Reading Station where I used to work when I first came to England 10 years ago.  Whereas in those days I was there from the early hours and endured, for me, a job that was not really in my line, today I went to take part in a guided tour of the huge extensions and upgrading of the station by Network Rail.  The tour was conducted by a member of the First Great Western Staff and a Contract Manager from Network Rail ~ Both professionals and both very switched on men. 

My recollection is that when I retired six years ago there were 14 MILLION or so men, women and children using the station - today that figure is approaching 19 MILLION.

The Station has been there for many years. I am not going to write Reading Station's history ~ instead I will put in a variety of sites dealing with the subject and anyone interested can look into it for themselves.  When I was at Reading I did write a short 'history' showing the highlights that interested me.  This was given in to some organisation or other and I lost my copy.

Two things stayed with me - the first was that the time it took to get from Reading to Paddington in 1857 using the old steam locomotives was not much longer than it is today.  The second was that way back in, I think 1847 or so, there was only one platform and trains travelling in each direction had to stop at that platform.  My research revealed that a signalling/points error caused the express going one way at speed to jump the rails and crash into the platform.

Today there will soon be 15 platforms.  I might have misheard but I believe that Reading is the busiest station outside of London in Great Britain.

Click on the Green words!

The first historical site is Brunel's Billiard Table ~ to me Isambard Kingdom Brunel is the Greatest Englishman of them all.  Read the site in detail and I think you may agree with me.

You can follow this up with Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 - 1859)

Coming back to the project.  As befits such a vast and expensive contract it has taken a great deal of time to plan and now to execute.  The extra lines being put in place have made it an extra large project and caused many logistical problems that needed to be overcome.  For example a rather narrow road bridge had to be replaced by a wider, bigger and stronger one. 

The trains had to carry on running!

So here I show you a Timelapse video of the replacement of the Caversham Road Bridge which took place in 2010.  It happened like this ~

"In the early hours of New Year's Day, as part of the Reading Station improvements by Network Rail, the team removed two existing box girder decks and lifted a new 1300 tonne bridge deck into  over Caversham Road ready to carry track serving new platforms at the station.

The 650mm deck was fabricated from 17 meter long sections and assembled in the nearby worksite, A giant multi -wheeled, self-propelled modular transporter, worked by remote control, carried the bridge into position across the road."

It actually took 96 hours and you can watch the entire process in a few minutes. The entire contract has been a triumph for the organisers and continues to be one.  My final offering is a Slideshow of the photographs I took today.  I hope you enjoy them.

Reading Station ~ Through the Lens of Ralpapajan



  1. Penny1:57 AM

    Really great photos. Emile really liked the timelapse too.

  2. Cool photos. Toronto Union station is having similar thing done. Most of the photos on their site right now are underground. [url=]Union Station[/url]

    Downtown Toronto so they're going down to add new concourse and shops.

  3. Howzit, Caspar. That link is 'Not found' any ideas?