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Train services over Christmas & New Year



Reading Station

From National Rail:

Train services to, from and through Reading will be subject to considerable alteration between Tuesday 24th December 2013 and Wednesday 1st January 2014.

Christmas Eve, Tuesday 24th December: services will run to a reduced timetable during the evening peak and all services will finish early – most services will have ceased running by 22.00.

Christmas Day, Wednesday 25th December and Boxing Day, Thursday 26th December: NO TRAIN SERVICES
On Boxing Day only, First RailAir will operate a limited coach service between Reading Station and Heathrow Airport, with some journeys extended to/from Gatwick Airport.

Between Friday 27th December and Wednesday 1st January inclusive there will be revised and reduced services on all First Great Western routes (suburban and main line) to and from London Paddington, due to Crossrail work. Some smaller London area stations will be closed, with Transport for London accepting rail tickets on alternative rail and bus routes. Revised timetables will also apply on Thames Valley branch lines.

Additional trains will operate between London Paddington and Reading during the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Between Christmas and New Year there will also be closures over the following lines, with replacement bus services operating (all dates inclusive):

– Reading-Basingstoke: Friday 27th December – Monday 30th December
Two bus services will run: one non-stop, the other serving Reading West, Mortimer and Bramley.

– Reading-Theale: Friday 27th December – Monday 30th December
A shuttle train service will run between Theale, Newbury and Bedwyn. Through trains between London and the West Country will be diverted via an alternative route between Reading and Westbury, or Reading and Taunton. Pewsey will be served by replacement bus service to/from Swindon.

– Redhill-Gatwick Airport: Friday 27th December – Sunday 29th December
Replacement buses will operate non-stop between Reigate and Gatwick Airport. Normal train times will apply between Reading and Redhill.

– Maidenhead-Marlow: Friday 27th December – Sunday 29th December, also Sunday 5th January
Between Monday 30th December and Friday 3rd January inclusive a revised train timetable will operate.

– Oxford-Banbury: Friday 27th and Saturday 28th December

The Night Riviera Sleeper service will not operate between Tuesday 24th and Tuesday 31st December. Trains will depart London and Penzance on the night of Monday 23rd December, and will resume with departures from London and Penzance on the night of Wednesday 1st January.

These will be affected by the engineering work between Reading and Basingstoke from Friday 27th December to Monday 30th December; and between Banbury and Oxford on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th December. During this period Cross Country tickets will be accepted on First Great Western and South West Train services.

Friday 27th & Saturday 28th December: Trains will not operate between Banbury and Basingstoke. Replacement coaches will operate between Banbury and Winchester for longer-distance passengers. Replacement buses will also operate between Banbury and Oxford (connecting into train services between Oxford and Reading); and between Reading and Basingstoke.

Sunday 29th December: Trains will not operate between Reading and Basingstoke. Replacement coaches will operate between Oxford and Winchester for longer-distance passengers, as well as replacement buses between Reading and Basingstoke.

Monday 30th December: Trains will be diverted via an alternative route between Reading and Southampton Central, not calling at Basingstoke, Winchester or Southampton Airport Parkway. Journey times will be extended by up to 60 minutes. Replacement buses will operate between Reading and Basingstoke for connecting trains to and from Winchester and Southampton Parkway.


A SATURDAY timetable will operate on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th, Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st December.

On Sunday 29th December trains will be diverted due to work in the Twickenham area, not calling at Twickenham or Richmond but instead at Hounslow and Kew Bridge. Replacement buses will operate between Hounslow, Twickenham and Richmond.

On Wednesday 1st January a SUNDAY timetable will operate.

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Reading’s Christmas lights 2020




Reading’s Christmas lights come on from Saturday 21 November. The centrepiece is a dazzling natural Christmas tree in Broad Street. Across the town centre there are over 400,000 twinkling lights, making Reading one of the largest displays in the south east.

The lead up to Christmas officially begins in Reading this weekend as the lights are switched on around the town.

Important Notice Reading, like the rest of England, is currently operating under new national COVID-related restrictions from 5 November – 2 December. This means that people MUST:-
  • Stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Close certain businesses and venues
These restrictions mean that it is not possible to visit Reading for the time being. We hope to be able to welcome you in December and throughout 2021. Please enjoy the information on these pages to help you plan a future visit and check back regularly to see if the situation has changed.

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Don’t be daft – we don’t need to ban fireworks





Some of your happiest memories when I was a child were at family or school fireworks displays. Freezing cold, eating jacket potatoes, sparklers in hands and ‘oo-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ over the pretty explosions which lit up the inky, night sky.

Whether you called it Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night, November 5 was one of the few times each year we got together with family and friends.

Now you are older, with a rescue dog, cat or a child who has always been sensitive to loud noises, you are less keen on the night.

Especially as it no longer lasts just one evening but fireworks can generally be heard from now until January. But an outright ban, or even allowing them only at official events is nonsense.

At the moment, thosands of people have signed a petition to ban fireworks in public – which means the government will have to respond.

I won’t call these people fun police or killjoys as some people have, I can see why they want to put restrictions on fireworks displays.

As they say themselves, they ’cause alarm, distress and anxiety to many people and animals’.

What is needed instead though is better education on the danger of fireworks, tougher penalties for those misusing them and police cracking down on those who flout the rules, particularly those who give/sell them to under 18s.

If organising a garden display, just be a considerate human being.

Make sure your neighbours are aware, perhaps even invite them over.

It’s easy to let people know – most of us are on social media and there are plenty of local noticeboards you can post on to let people know if you plan to let fireworks off for a lengthy amount of time.

If not, knock a few doors, particularly if you have elderly neighbours and those with children or pets.

Choose low noise or quiet fireworks (yes, they do exist) as well as follow safety advice and take precautions before setting them off.

And don’t be a git and let them off past 11pm.

If we all followed these general rules it would probably help a lot.

Banning things rarely has the desired effect and will only mean that a ‘black market’ will open up which will make it even more dangerous and fireworks more likely to fall into the hands of youngsters and those who would act irresponsibly.

People point to the environmental damage caused by fireworks – perhaps then a green tax should be introduced to pay towards offsetting the damage caused?

And there are plenty of things which are more dangerous and/or cause more environmental damage than fireworks such as cars, dairy farming – should we also ban them?

We all have to live with things which annoy or upset us but we can’t go around and ban everything that upsets someone.

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Sixth Oxford Road shop faces alcohol licence review




The police crackdown on newsagents and off licences in Oxford Road, Reading has continued, with a sixth store now facing a licence review.

Willis & Short Newsagents at 341 Oxford Road West Reading is the latest shop to be added to the list of off licences under review in the town.

As all other shops, Thames Valley Police (TVP) submitted this application for review in order to address the failure of the premises licence holder to promote the licensing objectives via their insufficient measures to ensure due diligence and full reasonably expected compliance of their licence conditions.

So far five Oxford Road shops are currently having their licences reviewed by Reading Borough Council:
Anrish News, no. 102
Today’s Express, no. 107
I&R Convenience, no. 202
Butts Convenience Store, no. 205
K B Superstores, no. 337

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