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Apprentices Visit Reading Station Redevelopment Project

15 January 2014

Costain recently hosted an apprentice site visit to the Reading Station Area Redevelopment Project, giving 22 apprentices from across the business an opportunity to see how one of the UK’s biggest rail redevelopment projects is progressing.

The event included a detailed tour of the site and a presentation from Sean O’Shea, an Apprentice Civil Engineer working on the project, about some of the challenges the team has overcome at one of the country’s busiest transport hubs.

"The visit to Reading Station was very interesting and a completely different type of project to what I am currently working on. It was amazing to see how they managed to keep some of the platforms open during construction as well as working around the trains and passengers. It was also good to see how the project has progressed and how much it has moved on in such a short amount of time,” said Chris Appleby, an Apprentice Electrical Design Engineer based in Manchester who attended the site visit.

The event was organised by Caroline Towner, Costain’s Apprentice Manager, and Sean, who works on the redevelopment of Platforms 8, 9 and 10. Drawing on his experience in surveying, sub-contractor management and being responsible for on-site safety and quality, Sean also gave the apprentices a tour of Platforms 3, 7, 8, 9 & 10, where works are still being carried out to redevelop the platforms ahead of their completion later this year.

“I gave an overview of the project and the work achieved to date, incorporating both the civil and mechanical engineering side of the job, as well as the current engineering challenges involved in the redevelopment of the station,” said Sean.

The redevelopment is just one part of Network Rail’s £895 million investment to transform the railway system in Reading, which is one of the busiest on the UK network. The station deals with around 800 trains and up to 45,000 commuters each day, but it has historically been hampered by a complicated track layout which restricts the number of trains that can run through it.

Improvements at the station include building new platforms and entrances, lengthening platforms to create space for longer trains, constructing new platform canopies and creating better waiting room and customer information facilities.

“I am delighted to have seen the vast majority of the project’s development, it has helped me gain a lot of experience related to civil and rail engineering, as well as the opportunity to work alongside more experienced people who have really helped to develop my skills. It’s been a huge learning curve for me and I feel very lucky that I was put on this job as it is quite a unique project,” said Sean, who started work on the project in June 2012.

The Reading site visit builds on the success of other apprentice site visits that Costain has arranged at various projects around the country, and more are planned in the future.

“The event was a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices to meet other apprentices and ask questions about how other projects work across the Company. Those that have been on the apprentice programme a while can share experiences with those that have just joined us. We see these visits as a valuable part of the apprentice experience with Costain,” said Caroline.