One of Reading’s MPs has welcomed accessibility improvements at a station serving commuters and a huge business park.

Sir Alok Sharma, the Conservative MP for Reading West, recently visited Theale Station, which serves neighbours in the village and Arlington Business Park.

A project is being undertaken to construct three new lift towers so wheelchair users and families with pushchairs can access the platforms.

Currently, the platforms are only accessible via a footbridge.

The project to build the new lifts began in January, with Sir Alok visiting the station to observe construction progress on Friday, June 16.

He has been campaigning for nearly 10 years to improve accessibility at the station.

Sir Alok said: “I am delighted that work to improve accessibility at Theale Station is well underway.

“Having campaigned hard over many years to win Government funding for this project it is great to see it finally coming to fruition.

“I know that the upgrades will benefit greatly commuters, especially wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs.”

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Stuart Calvert, capital delivery director at Network Rail added: “Work has been progressing well at Theale station with the first major set of works taking place over the weekend.

“This includes three new lift towers and support columns being installed. Work will continue now over the coming weeks and months to provide passengers with a fully accessible station. We look forward to welcoming passengers being able to use the lifts between platforms from early 2024.”

Theale Station is served by the Great Western Railway, with trains running east to Reading and London Paddington, and west to Newbury, Thatcham and Bedwyn.

The station is in walking distance to Arlington Business Park, which is occupied by phone company Nokia and IT company Westcoast, with Amazon possessing a logistics base in the business park among other companies.

Theale was one of three stations in in West Berkshire and Reading Borough that received £18 million of government investment from the Department of Transport in 2018.

Theale’s share of the funding is going towards a new fully accessible footbridge with lifts, a new ticket office, doubling of car parking spaces and improved access for buses and taxis.

Upgrade works are also taking place at Tilehurst Station, where a plan has been submitted for wheelchair accessible lifts to the platforms, and Reading West station, which will benefit from a new station building, improved accessibility and security measures to prevent train fare dodging.

Theale has the second oldest station in the Reading urban area, opening in 1847, just seven years before the Reading main station opened in 1840.