A SPECIAL gathering was held to celebrate the launch of new intercity express trains, which will serve Reading and West Berkshire.

Richard Benyon was among the first to take a trip on the London to Bedwyn line, marking the arrival of five new trains.

The Newbury MP was joined by members of West Berkshire Council, as well as representatives from Network Rail and Great Western Railway.

Lynne Doherty, leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “This is a great development for the whole of West Berkshire, as it will make journeys to London and beyond faster, greener and more reliable.

“I must pay tribute to my former colleague, Jeanette Clifford, whose hard work has got us to this point. She is a tireless champion for Newbury and for the railway, so I’m thrilled to see this has paid off.

“Railway connectivity is a huge part of our push to be a well-connected and vibrant district and we all look forward to benefitting from these improvements in the years to come. We are open for business.”

The London to Bedwyn line takes in Reading, Theale, Newbury, Kintbury and Hungerford.