For the second year running, those clever people at Network Rail have decided to undertake major repairs on the Paddington to Reading line, on the weekend thousands of festival-goers need to use it!
[r-zone1]You can imagine the meeting, a dusty room filled with grey-suited train execs: “You know how we pissed off all those music fans by closing the main railway line between London and Reading on the weekend of the Reading Festival last year? Well, it was such a success – let’s do it again!”
It seems the thousands of London festival goers, most of whom will be carrying heavy bags of camping equipment, clothes, food and drink, are not a serious consideration when major track repairs are being planned.
There will be no train services between Paddington and Reading between Saturday, 28th August and Monday, 30th August.
[l-zone2]Although Network Rail has vowed to double its services out of Waterloo over the weekend to make up for the cancellations, the announcement has been met with a mix of disbelief and anger by fesival-goers.
Ian Dove, who will be making the trip from London, told VF: “What planet do these people live on? There will be thousands of people going to and from Reading and the last thing we want, coming home after a long weekend, is having to fight to get on packed trains – or worse still, not even getting one!”
[r-zone3]However, Kevin Groves, spokesman for Network Rail, told us: “This is the second year we’ve done this and in our experience it doesn’t cause problems. We plan these kind of track improvements 18 months in advance and we need the four day break to do it, as we will be taking up a whole mile of track. Even with the Reading festival, we will still be inconveniencing less people so, although it seems strange, it’s actually less of a problem overall.”
Meanfiddler, the company which organises and promotes the Carling Reading/Leeds Weekender, have been consulted over the line closure.
A spokesman said:“Those travelling Thursday and Friday will not be affected by the work on their outward journey. In addition to this there are special bus services as per last year which allow everyone on day tickets to watch all of the headline band sets and still get back to London on Saturday and Sunday evening. These will accept your return rail ticket and we hope that all Reading ticket holders appreciate that we are doing our utmost to ensure that their traveling arrangements for the weekend are trouble free. We would also like to encourage people to investigate car sharing through the Virtual Festivals site to minimise the environmental impact of the event.”
The Reading Festival takes place between 27-29 August at Richfield Avenue, Reading.
[l-zone4]Headlined by The White Stripes, The Darkness, and Green Day, it is now completely sold out.
Click here for the full line-up.