It’s fair to say the enthusiasm for Crossrail’s opening among our partners isn’t what it might have been had it opened on time in December 2018.
Instead of it being seen as a great new link to London and beyond, it’s become a reminder of all that went wrong along the way.
Hopefully, in time, the benefits will outweigh the frustrations of those of us who were expecting great things but who now wonder if the dream is what we were initially told it would be.
Direct trains from Reading straight into Central London sound like a leap forward but in reality, it’s a slow, stopping service with few seats, little comfort and no toilets.
The real advantage is to the likes of Maidenhead and Slough where direct trains to Bond Street (eventually) really will enable people to live in more affordable places while working in the capital.
For the day tripper from Reading, taking a fast train to Paddington, even standing, is still likely to be a better option than to stand all the way to Central London on a stopping train. For those going further east, there will be no sights and sounds to enjoy as it becomes pretty much an underground service across the centre.
The tourist might have a better experience on a fast train to Paddington and a taxi around it.
And does anyone even know the ticket prices from Reading to Bond Street yet?
The real advantage to Reading is more of a PR coup. Being on the tube map is a great talking point and those considering moving out of the capital to be nearer greener places might like to see what appears to be a direct link back.
Perhaps London-based occupiers will see it as an additional attraction to moving to the top-of-the-range offices coming to Station Hill.
Connecting directly to Liverpool Street (again, eventually) could make a journey less arduous and any tube line disruption could, perhaps, be avoided.
But, as some of our Thames Tap partners have noted, this might have been more exciting in 2018. It’s troubles have certainly taken some of the shine off the scheme.
Let’s hope The Queen is able to open the completed project which bears her name. That might make everyone feel better about it.
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