The Transport for London (TfL) and Department for Transport (DfT) have extended the Crossrail route to Reading, which is valued at around £14.8bn.
The extended service will see the east-west rail line serve two additional stations including Twyford and Reading.
Crossrail’s extended route will be fully operational by the end of 2019 and will serve around 40 stations.
It will increase the rail capacity in London by 10% by connecting Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
The extension opens up a wider network of destinations across and beyond central London, and extends the benefits of a direct connection between London’s main employment centres and reduced journey times to even more people.
UK rail minister Stephen Hammond said, "Crossrail reaching Reading is further proof of our commitment to deliver a transport network fit for the 21st century. It will improve connectivity and deliver greater choice and convenience for passengers travelling into London.
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"It will also make better use of the already congested Great Western Main Line, freeing up capacity for further improvements including potential direct services from Reading to Heathrow as part of the Western Access Scheme."
TfL and DfT have jointly worked with Crossrail and Network Rail to better use the Great Western Mainline.
The planned Great Western services from Reading to London with twice hourly semi-fast services will not be changed and fast mainline services will continue to operate.
A £900m upgrade is currently underway at the Reading Station, which is slated for completion in 2015.
Image : Bombardier Aventra train. Photo: courtesy of Crossrail.