Reading Railway Station, UK

Architect Grimshaw Architects
Date Built
Completed 2014
Reading, UK
From an architectural point of view, there is more than 150 years of history on display at Reading Station.  As you cross the forecourt, you see the original Victorian station building now home to the Three Guineas pub.


Beside it, and until recently the main access to the station, stands the 1980s station building complete with ticket office and a variety of food and retail outlets.


After a number of years of construction during which the station continued to operate, a new Reading Station has been added by Grimshaw Architects.  Their challenge was to expand the station by adding 6 new platforms thereby, "... making interchanges at the station simpler, quicker and easier".  They also added two new entrances and, "... a new transfer bridge over the tracks, designed to accommodate a 100% uplift in passenger growth."  The transfer bridge can be seen below.

The side of the bridge is clad in a two-tone brick arrangement with the name "READING" inscribed three-dimensionally which is somewhat easier to see in real life than in my photograph.

Grimshaws explain that the development had to occur while the business of this major railway hub carried on, as much as was possible, without interruption.  "The largest element of construction is the station transfer deck, a 30m wide 135m long bridge, built on the north side of the station and launched over the tracks. Grimshaw worked with specialist fabricators to develop a modular canopy system which uses prefinished, factory-assembled cassette panels, with bespoke curved sections to form the sinuous, canopy ribbons that shape the station environment."

A bank of four escalators, combined with a wide walking staircase, aid the movement of large numbers of passengers to and from the transfer bridge.  All platforms are served by passenger lifts and announcements at the station encourage travelers not to take luggage on the escalators but to use the passenger lifts.

The transfer bridge offers access to all platforms and also accommodates a number of retail outlets.


The platforms are covered by the "sinuous, canopy ribbons" that Grimshaws refer to.

Lighting accentuates the curves of the platform canopies.

Network Rail say that, "Reading Station is undergoing a transformation programme as part of the wider £895m Reading Improvement scheme. While Reading Borough Council is delivering improvements to public spaces at the front and rear of the station, Network Rail is delivering the station and track upgrade that began in 2010 and is due to be completed by summer 2015, one year ahead of schedule."

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