Reading redevelopment

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by 387star, 7 Jul 2019.

  1. 387star

    387star Established Member

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    Is there a reason the old station entrance area with shops etc was kept when the station was rebuilt ?

    Was it always the intention?

    Not sure when it was built but guessing the 80s? Looks pretty dated
     
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  3. coppercapped

    coppercapped Established Member

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    Yes, there is a reason.

    The building dates from the last extension to the station facilities - being opened in 1989 by the Queen and built on the site of the station built by the Reading, Guildford and Reigate Railway. This was later bought by the South Eastern Railway.

    The rebuild of Reading station eight or nine years ago added more platforms, a new northern entrance with a ticket office and a wide pedestrian bridge to connect them and a couple of ticket machines in the new southern (town side) entrance to the bridge but no additional 'land side' station facilities which remain concentrated in the 1989 building. Apart from the shops you mention the building houses the main ticket office, the Railair lounge for the Heathrow coaches, one of the entrances to the neighbouring Apex office block; the short term car park and drop off point for people living south of the railway is in the undercroft.

    For the money it had available I think BR did a pretty good job. Unfortunately the street doors in the 1989 building were removed during the rebuild to enable some large pieces of equipment to be brought into the station and the replacements are less than tidy. They don't help the overall impression.
     
  4. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Yes, as said it was always planned to be kept, I’ve got a number of planning drawings and other documents about it, and there was never any mention of losing it.
     
  5. AlastairFraser

    AlastairFraser Member

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    Yes I think so,but it being dated isn't a problem. The Reading redevelopment didn't have enough money thrown at it,so we didn't get at least a rebuilt bridge to the car park that is needed to cut time for some people coming from east of the cycle bridge/or maybe a ticket gated subway by the car park. I get they couldn't fund one at the Caversham Road end-I wonder if the developers of the old Royal Mail will fund a public subway between their estate and Tudor Road to say thanks.
     
  6. coppercapped

    coppercapped Established Member

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    I'm not sure that I follow.

    There was a pedestrian bridge that ran from the 1989 building over all the platforms to the multi-storey car park in Vastern Road. This was removed because (a) the supporting piers would have obstructed the new track layout and (b) it was too low for the OHLE. One great improvement resulting from the removal of the associated escalators and stairway from the 1989 building was that it made for an unobstructed pedestrian flow from the gateline to the 'Southern' platforms 4 to 6 rather than around the pinchpoint caused by the escalator machinery room.

    In principle a direct access from the platforms to the car park would be handy. is this what you meant by a rebuilt bridge? The issue is that as any bridge serving all the platforms would have to have been higher the stairs and escalators would need to have started from further back inside the 1989 building. This would have really messed up passenger flows.

    There is still a publicly accessible, ungated subway under the station - it's the old subway which used to be the only way to the platforms before the 1989 rebuild. It's been refaced and resurfaced. It is in use now and will be the route for people to reach the town centre from the proposed development on the old Royal Mail site. Anyway a subway under the railway from the Royal Mail site to Tudor Road would come out behind the office blocks! And who would want to go to Tudor Road anyway - now that Eames has gone[1]?

    [1] In-joke for the septuagenarians! EAMES (Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Services) was a fabulous model railway hobby shop for scratch builders which was in Tudor Road. Of course it also sold Hornby and Tri-Ang. Maurice Earley the renowned railway photographer of the 1930 to 1960 period was either a regular or had an interest in the shop whom I met several times when I was a schoolboy. The shop closed when the area was redeveloped.
     
  7. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    I watched the 1989 concourse building, bridge and car park go up from my office over the road in Western Tower. It was a huge improvement in facilities compared to what had existed before. Leaving much of this in place also helped the station maintain some semblance of normal operation during the more recent construction activity.
     
  8. AlastairFraser

    AlastairFraser Member

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    Yes, a direct access from the platforms to the car park is what I would like to see later-perhaps as a Reading redevelopment part 2-because,let's be honest, it is not complete because the bus station has not been replaced and the Station Hill development has not been built(not NR or the TOC's fault though). Maybe the 1989 bit could be redeveloped at the same time with the new ticket hall below a tower block connected (the short stay car park below can stay).I use the subway nearly every day-.
     
  9. coppercapped

    coppercapped Established Member

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    Admittedly direct access from the platforms to the multi-storey car park would be a 'nice to have'. But I can't see it happening because there would have to be some major civil engineering work to install an accessible bridge which passes over the OHLE. Such a bridge cannot only have stairs, it would also have to have lifts and most likely escalators as well because of the height. All this for the two main travel peaks in the morning and evening to save four or five minutes.

    The planning or re-building of the bus station has nothing whatsoever to do with NR. In fact because Reading Borough Council (RBC) ripped up Station Hill - which was built on concrete columns in the late 1920s or early 1930s - it has made a bus station at or near the original site impossible and there are no other suitable sites nearby. Buses can't climb steps. RBC has got itself a nice plaza - but ruined the through bus routes.

    RBC has a plan for the station area - this is now 9 years old and has been rather overtaken by events, but it gives an idea of what is in mind. Frankly I find your idea of another tower block on top of the 1989 station appalling. All they do is generate winds at street level and there are enough partially empty office blocks in the area already.
     
  10. Non Multi

    Non Multi Member

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    I've added a link to a blog on Reading re-development schemes: http://readingonthames.com/2019/06/17/station-hill-4-revealed-lets-get-on-with-it/. Unfortunately developers seem to have travelled back 50 years and are once again going BIG on high rises, for both residential accommodation and commercial office space.

    The Rail Air side of the Brunel Arcade building would be a good location for a Hull Paragon style bus interchange, with saw-tooth bus bays. Waiting bus passengers should provide additional passing trade for the Arcade's shops.
     
  11. Clayton

    Clayton Member

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    Compared to a lot of places Reading has a decent big station and lots of railway activity
     
  12. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Why does Reading need a bus station? The on-street bus stops at a range of convenient locations are totally adequate - Reading is hardly an interchange location between loads of 'country' routes.
     

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