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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Reading Station

Reading, United Kingdom
Reading Station Expansion

Biggest track change in 100 years of UK rail completed on time and within budget

Bechtel and Network Rail have successfully completed the massive expansion of Reading Station—one of the busiest stations outside London—on schedule and within budget. The work was carried out over four years as a major part of the $1.5 billion Reading Station Area Redevelopment program. The track layout outside Reading station has been improved to ease congestion, and the station’s capacity has been doubled allowing it to cater for up to 30 million passengers a year, which is forecast by 2030. The new station was formally opened on 17th July 2014 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Robbie Burns, Network Rail’s infrastructure projects regional director, Western and Wales.

Robbie Burns, Network Rail’s infrastructure projects regional director, Western and Wales.

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Key facts

  • The program has saved 15% of the total baseline cost to date – approximately USD $230m
  • Bechtel was selected by Network Rail in 2009 to provide project management services for the $5bn Crossrail and Reading program, which aims to upgrade key parts of the UK rail system. 

Track change

In Reading, an hour west of London, Bechtel and its customer, Network Rail, safely compressed 40 days of track, signaling, and station upgrade work into just 10 days, minimizing disruption and saving money. It was the biggest track layout change in more than a century, and it relieved one of the worst railroad bottlenecks in the UK.

“This project was complex given that we were working on an operational rail system. However, careful planning and dedication ensured that we were able to get the job done right, safely,” said Bechtel’s global rail sector lead, Ailie MacAdam. “Collaboration between Network Rail, train operators, passengers, and other stakeholders was essential to the success of Reading Station’s transformation.”

Key milestones 

The work was completed in 2015, and all major milestones were delivered to or ahead of schedule including:

  • Improved station capacity
  • New depot made operational             
  • Main line grade separation                
  • West country grade separation
  • Construction complete