TfL Rail will operate services to Reading from mid-December, ahead of the introduction of the Elizabeth line.
The services will start running between Paddington mainline and Reading from 15 December; the services are currently operated by GWR but will be operated as TfL Rail and become the Elizabeth line when the service opens through central London.
By becoming TfL Rail, the service frequency – four stopping trains an hour at peak times between Paddington mainline and Reading – will be maintained by using the new Elizabeth line trains.
There will be two trains an hour during off-peak times – maintaining the current frequency; passengers and business users will also be able to pay via contactless payment methods at the start of next year, highlighting another major revolution of rail services throughout the UK in order to reduce the number of paper tickets and increase efficiency.
Howard Smith is the Operations Director for TfL Rail. He explained the convenience that the new services will bring.
He said: “Starting TfL services to Reading is another step towards opening London’s new railway, the Elizabeth line.
“Customers will see staff at every station, and improvements being made to stations along the route including the installation of lifts to provide step-free access, they will also be able to enjoy the convenience of pay as you go contactless payments all the way to Reading.”
Network Rail and TfL are delivering station improvement work at all stations between Paddington mainline and Reading.
Passengers can expect new station entrances, better customer information systems and signage, and step-free access.
In preparation for the introduction of the Elizabeth line, platform lengths have been extended to cater for the larger, new trains that will serve the stations and the line.
The development of the new line has been beset by delays and is not expected to be open until the end of 2020 at least.