Post No 1 – Classical Association Annual Conference 2013 at Reading
Reading and Travel essentials
Throughout this week we will bring you something about Classical Association’s annual conference, at 9AM sharp until Sunday. Today, we give you some tips on getting there: it is worth looking even if you have booked transport tickets, especially if you booked trains. Sections divided by
i) Overview & Getting around Reading,
ii) Getting to Reading by train (incl. Gatwick Airport)
iii) Getting to Reading by coach (incl. Heathrow Airport and other airports)
iv) Getting to Reading by car
i) Overview & Getting around Reading
Reading is a town of 150,000 citizens situated in the silicon belt known as the M4 corridor. It flourished with the arrival of the Great Western Railway, though sites such as Reading Abbey reminds us that it has a long history along the Thames.
The conference is geographically split into two:
– The centre of Reading will host all the events (*including” addresses and seminars) on Wednesday and Saturday, and the conference dinner and its reception on Friday.
– Whiteknights campus will host all the events (*except* concert, conference dinner and drinks before that dinner) on Thursday and Friday.
For the city centre, make sure you know Broad Street (the main pedestrianised thoroughfare) and the railway station. The Town Hall (for registration and conference dinner, intra alia) can be reached by heading out the main doors of the train station until you reach Broad Street, then turn left until you see the builing); in any case the route to the Town Hall should be signposted. Novotel (where Saturday’s seminars will be) is between the train station and Broad Street.
On campus, the route from the bus stops to Palmer Building (where the seminars take place) goes around the HUMSS building. The Ure Building is located within the HUMSS building. For lunch, Eat at the Sqaure is further around the green from the Palmer Building, yet I imagine the helpers and signs will guide you there.
Remember that there is a good map in your programme, which you will receive at registration; there will also be student-helpers.
Travelling between Reading Centre and campus
On Thursday and Friday, you may need to travel between the centre of Reading and Whiteknights campus. You should have bus vouchers in your welcome pack; extra jouneys will cost in exact change only £1.80 (return £3.60) Take the Reading Bus route 20, 20a or 21. Allow 30 minutes from getting on the bus to arriving at Palmer Building (the location of the seminars on campus), or from Palmer Building to leaving the bus in the centre of Reading. See the route and the city centre stops here: http://ow.ly/jn5gc
From Reading to Whiteknights campus
The bus leaves less than every 10 minutes until after 7pm. Alight at the 20, 20a or 21 route’s first stop at the Railway Station (code: EJ) or the second stop at Market Place (MA), which is nearer to the commercial centre. For the Railway Station stop (EJ) look for the Railair bus stop from within the station, then cross the bay of the Railair stop to EJ bus stop. The MA Market Place bus stop is not far from the Post Office. See here for a map of the stops: http://ow.ly/jn4T5. There is one main stop on Whiteknights campus, from where one walks round the HUMSS building, keeping it to the left, to reach Palmers Building.
From Whiteknights campus to Reading centre
The bus leaves around every 10 minutes until 8pm. Take the 20, 20a and 21 from the Chancellor’s Way stop. This return stop is diagonally accross from the stop that you got off your bus at to get to campus. There are various stops at which you can leave the bus in the city centre (see here: http://ow.ly/jn5gc scroll down). For the concert at St Mary Butts leave the bus at stop MP by The Oracle.
@CA2013Reading (the official account) and @ClassColl (us) will endeavour to provide up-to-date information on the conference, including travel updates. The official account may be more dependable as Classics Collective will also be trying to get to Reading…
ii) Getting to Reading by train (incl. Gatwick Airport and other airports)
National Rail is carrying out major works to improve Reading station, which serves as the artery to Wales and the Westcountry (as delegates travelling by rail to Exeter last year may know). Despite this, you are still likely to find railway the best method to arrive at Reading. Book through Virgin Trains (www.virgintrains.co.uk) to avoid sundry fees. For how to reach the university (Thursday and Friday only) from the station, see section above.
- From Stansted, Luton and City Airports: travel via London; see “from London and via London Paddington
- From Gatwick Airport, Redhill, Woking and Guildford, including Brighton and other Southern destinations, stops along Tonbridge and Redhill line (Southeastern Trains), Portsmouth-Guildford and stops between East Croydon and Redhill: the trains run as normal from Gatwick Airport via Redhill, Woking, Dorking, Guildford into Reading station. There will be at least one train per hour and attendees from areas South of London can change at Gatwick Airport, Redhill or Guildford to reach Reading. At least one train per hour.
- From London and the rest of UK, via London Paddington: your journey is likely to require a First Great Western train from London Paddington, which is running a revised timetable. The inconvenience should not be too great.
- From Oxfordshire, Birmingham, Birmingham Airport and the rest of UK, via Birmingham New Street: your journey is likely to stop at Reading WEST station, which will require a change to reaching Reading’s main station.
- From Hampshire, Dorset: trains will run from Bournemouth to Reading WEST station, requiring a change to reach Reading’s main station.. Other journeys are available via Basingstoke direct to Reading’s main station.
- From Devon, Cornwall, Somerset: special timetable is in force and journeys are extended by up to 30 minutes.
- From South Wales, Greater Bristol and Three Counties area: special timetable are in place and journeys are extended by 5 minutes or more.
Follow @FGW, @CrossCountryUK, @CA2013Reading and @ClassColl for up-to-date travel information.
iii) Getting to Reading by coach (incl. Heathrow Airport)
From Heathrow Airport, the RailAir service departs from terminal 5 and the central bus station. From the central bus station terminals 3 and 1 is around 5-10 minutes by travellators, whereas travelling via terminal 5 requires a free shuttle on Heathrow Exepress (to Heathrow Central, thence up the lifts to the bus station). £23.00 return (£15.00 single) with railcard discounts. http://www.railair.com
Most NationalExpress coaches are likely to stop at Reading (Calcott). The routes main serve the Westcountry (south of Birmingham), though travellers booking through NationalExpress from anywhere in the country could probably connect to a coach that stops at Reading (Calcott). From Calcott, which is by the motorway, you can catch a bus back to the centre and the railway station. National Express: http://www.nationalexpress.com
iv) Getting to Reading by car
Hop along the M4! Reading is relatively easy to get to by car. Check with your hotels for parking space as you are unlikely to require your car during the conference.
If you require parking on Whiteknights campus you must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange, especially as parking is limited on campus.
Bear in mind that the centre and arterial routes gets very congested at rush hours; there are however priority system to speed buses up. Check on routeplanners (e.g. Google Maps) and travel news site (e.g. bbc.co.uk/travel) for congestion before you set off.