Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, yesterday met with Rail Minister Claire Perry MP, to again discuss Green Park station, following the publication of the Hendy Review.
Green Park station is fully funded and is due to be built by the end of 2018, but Network Rail has indicated in the Hendy Review that the Reading to Basingstoke line (on which Green Park station will be located) will not be electrified by then. As electric trains can accelerate quicker than diesel trains, this could have an impact on train timetabling.
The Hendy Review identifies the electrification of the Reading to Basingstoke line as a project that can be developed during Control Period 5, which runs until the end of 2018, and then delivered in Control Period 6, which starts in 2019.
Alok expressed his concern to the Rail Minister that if the Reading to Basingstoke line was not electrified before the end of 2018 then trains may not be able to stop at the station. Claire Perry confirmed that the electrification of the line would be delivered, but she would investigate what could be done to ensure that trains could begin running at Green Park station at the earliest opportunity. One of the options discussed during the meeting was for extra diesel trains to be provided on the line until electrification.
Alok Sharma said: “I really appreciate that Rail Minister Claire Perry always has an open to door to listening to constituency concerns raised by individual MPs. There is no doubt that both she and her officials recognise the potential benefits the station at Green Park will bring for local businesses and residents, as well as visitors to the Madejski Stadium. I look forward to continuing to work with the Minister and her team to help make the case for running trains through Green Park prior to electrification of the line.”
Alok continued: “Clearly there will be additional costs for the Department for Transport of running trains to Green Park before electrification is completed and it will therefore be vitally important that the station is completed and ready to accept any such services.”
Claire Perry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said: “The development of the new station at Green Park, and the introduction of electric trains, will bring real benefits to local residents and rail users alike. We are looking at how we can make sure these benefits are delivered as soon as possible.”
Claire Perry continued: “Electrification of the Great Western Main Line is part of the biggest programme of modernisation since Victorian times. Sir Peter Hendy has provided the Transport Secretary with a plan to do this that is efficient and affordable – it will be delivered. I am grateful for the tireless campaigning of local MPs on this issue.”
Photo: Alok Sharma with Rail Minister Claire Perry MP