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On track: Grimshaw's Reading station rejuvenation

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[FIRST LOOK + PLANS] Grimshaw has overhauled five platforms and added a 135m-long bridge as part of the ongoing £897 million redevelopment of Reading station

Opened to passengers last week, the scheme marks the second phase of the practice’s rejig of the ‘bottleneck’ station on the Great Western Mainline.

Grimshaw has worked with Network Rai, and contractors Tata Steel Projects and the Costain on the project. As well as the new transfer bridge, the practice has added two new entrances, escalators and lifts at the station whose capacity is set to double by 2030.

Bill Henry, Network Rail’s programme director for the Reading upgrades, said ‘The new structure points the way to what the finished product will look like when we complete the station in 2014, so we are pushing forward towards that now – bringing the old platforms up to the same standard as those unveiled at Easter.’

Grimshaw's Reading station - second phase completion (April 2013)

Source: Rick Roxburgh

Grimshaw’s Reading station - second phase completion (April 2013)

The architect’s view

The upgrades mean the station now has two new entrances, with escalators and lifts providing step-free access to the new platforms. A newly restored and upgraded subway will also provide a link across the railway for those without tickets.

The largest element of the new upgrade is the station’s passenger bridge, a 30m wide 135m long bridge, which links the north and south of the station over the tracks. This was constructed off-site and slid across the tracks at a high level avoiding disruption to the operational station below. 

The station’s other major design feature is a series of sweeping canopies which rise over the transfer deck. A metallic blue finish to the soffit generates an unbroken band of colour over the platforms and transfer deck, ensuring the canopies can be read as a single continuous element. The fluid, rippling roof form reflects the way passengers move within the station. 

Grimshaw worked with specialist fabricators to develop the modular canopy system which utilises pre-finished, factory-assembled cassette panels to form the sinuous, canopy ribbons that shape the station environment. Grimshaw’s design reduced the number and complexity of construction operations on the platforms and over the tracks, ensuring that the station could be built quickly and affordably within an operational rail environment. 

Grimshaw's Reading station - second phase completion (April 2013)

Source: Jim Stephenson

Grimshaw’s Reading station - second phase completion (April 2013)





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