On 17 July Her Majesty the Queen paid a visit to officially open the new Reading station, extended in a project lasting five years from 10 to 15 platforms at a cost of almost £900 million. The royal party arrived in the first class portion of First Great Western’s 1B25, the 10.45 London Paddington to Swansea HST, running in reverse formation especially for the occasion. Power car 43163, complete with “Visit Plymouth” advertising livery, was at the head.
Having alighted at platform 9B, Her Majesty was greeted by local officials, then was escorted to platform 8B where she met representatives of the workforce manning the new High Output Plant System train, which will drive the Great Western electrification. She named one of the driving units Brunel, which may not be an original name but is certainly appropriate.
The visit ended with a walk along the new pedestrian bridge, and a brief ceremony there. The Queen then left by car, to pose for a photograph with the construction team working on the new infrastructure west of the station. This was a fitting way to honour such a major engineering achievement by Network Rail.
1. A view of the new platforms at the greatly enlarged Reading station, with Network Rail and First Great Western staff eagerly awaiting the royal visit. Jim Tucker
2. The Queen meets the men who will be working on the Great Western electrification, and hears all about the new HOPS train. Jim Tucker
3. The High Output Plant System, the so-called “factory train”, stands in Reading’s platform 8B. Jim Tucker
4. The power unit of the HOPS train, sporting its new nameplates. Jim Tucker
last updated: 23/07/14