Since 1840 Reading has been an increasingly important hub for the railway network. Acting as a gateway to the West of England (from Devon and Cornwall to Wales and from Bath and Bristol to the Cotswolds) the station is also a hub for passengers that wish to travel from the South Coast to the North of England without changing in London.
As one of the 10 busiest stations outside of London Reading manages more than 15 million passengers per year.
In 2008 Network Rail announced a £400 million regeneration and reconfiguration of the station. This extended the platform configuration to support more effective train transition as well as a complete refurbishment of the station concourse to support increased passenger numbers. Since its announcement the programme has been significantly extended, delivering major improvements to both the station and the surrounding areas. Five new platforms have been created alongside major redevelopment work around the station hub.
Urbis Schréder has been extensively involved in the refurbishment across three distinct projects. First, Urbis Schréder was commissioned to provide lighting for the station platforms that are not under cover. This project is particularly critical because, if power was to be lost to the station platforms the lighting needs to provide an instant backup to direct passengers safely. Urbis Schréder created a bespoke solution to provide battery backup in case of emergency.
As part of the project, Reading station’s main car park was completely reimagined. As part of this work, Urbis Schréder provided its LED solution with Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) within areas of the station car park. This unique solution enables LED lighting to be ‘dimmed’ when the car park is empty but enables the lighting to gradually get brighter when people return to their cars or new cars arrive. This ensures that the energy cost is kept as low as possible whilst always providing a safe and secure environment to people using the car park. This is the second installation of LED with PIR in the rail sector, following the successful implementation of the solution at Southampton Airport Parkway station earlier in 2014.
Finally, Reading Borough Council has used the redevelopment of the station as a launchpad to create new and improved areas around the station complex. This includes pleasant walking and cycling routes to the station, better access to and through the station and the improvement of facilities in the surrounding areas. Urbis Schréder is also heavily involved in this project – delivering effective and relevant LED lighting solutions to the surrounding areas, not only with street lighting but also with innovative solutions such as Urbis Schréder’s LED handrail.
The redevelopment of Reading Station will transform the experience of commuters and visitors alike. It will ensure Reading's strategic importance in the rail network and provide an environment that should serve commuters for another 30 years. Lighting solutions from Urbis Schréder will be a pivotal part of ensuring that the future Reading station is a bright and safe place to transit through.