Commuting Birmingham - Reading

Hi all,

I am Dutch person and  will be starting a new job in the Reading area soon. My partner lives in Birmingham. I would like to be move in with her, which would mean commuting every day. I have been looking it up, and it seems to be just about doable (a little bit under 2 hours one day).

I would to ask your collective wisdom whether this is a horrible idea or not (with your experience in commuting in the UK), or if I am underestimating the time it would take.

Additionally, as I have no experience with buying cars in the UK, I was wondering if there are any pecularities I should pay particular attention to when buying a car. I think I would be looking for a reliable new-ish 2nd hand diesel car, any tips where to start?


Good Luck with commuting between Birmingham & Reading Long-Term.  Thinking it's too far.
We are Aussies who enjoy visiting friends in Birmingham and them us; however, couldn't imagine doing it on a Long-Term basis unless it 'twas by train Mate!   But that's way too expensive to be viable via the Rail.  Trains are on Strike so often lately it's become a unreliable form of transport for commuters. There's a new line currently being built to be completed Summer, 2017.  Direct Line from Reading into City of London :).
Besides theirs a lot of congestion on the M40 & A34.  Especially near Oxford. 

It has consistently taken 2 hours on a weekend. So try 2.1/2 - 3 hours plus on weekdays. 
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news :(   I'd suggest you find a pad in Reading for your workdays and Birmingham other times.  Unless you have a job where you can Telecommute; with a day or 2 working days in the Office each week.  Then maybe you could commute in on a Monday or Tuesday plus a Thursday weekly???    We've lived in a Reading area 6 months in September.  Cardiff, Wales 12 months B4 and Washington DC, USA for 15 years B4.  We Relocated overseas from Sydney, Australia in July, 2001.  :).

Please don't hesitate messaging me for any other questions or concerns you may have.

Thanks for the quick reply, I was afraid it would a bit optimistic. I had been thinking about rail, but, apart from the cost and reliabilty, the last section from Reading station to my workplace (in Bracknell to be exact) would take about the same amount of time as getting to Reading station. I suspected that finding accomodation in the Reading region will be my best bet, I will look into that after I have actually moved to the UK.

Other than that, any tips for looking for 2nd hand cars? I have no idea how it works in the UK with, for example, registration, mot, types of insurances, etc. Any information on that (no matter how basic) would be greatly appreciated.

Hi there, 

My hubs Tony will put something together to assist you on Car info! 

On suitable areas to live; SouthHampton might be a better option for you to consider as it's only about a 1 hour so or maybe even less to Bracknell. 
Anywhere within the Hampshire or West Sussex plus Also Look at Bassibgstoke area!    (Reading to Bracknell. Add 1/2 hour).

Aussie Dreamer :

It has consistently taken 2 hours on a weekend. So try 2.1/2 - 3 hours plus on weekdays.

Reading to Birmingham takes 1.5 hours on the train and it's a direct route

You would need to get a season ticket or monthly one because depending on the time of travel you are talking between 50 - 100 pounds return.

Times and prices can be found here

When you have found a car, you can have The AA is a good place to find cars, All their cars are history checked and exclude all stolen or written-off cars They also come with 12 months breakdown cover.

If you find a car elsewhere you can have them come and check it over for you.

Nearly all main car dealer sell 2nd hand cars, so it does depend what you want to drive.

I agree that commuting by train from Reading to Birmingham is workable.

1 1/2 hours isn't all that long, and when you consider that many people working in London live in areas outside of London such as Brighton, Hastings, Eastbourne etc, which takes an hour to get to London, then another half hour doesn't seem so bad. As long as you have an iPod you'll be fine.

As for cars, as SimCityAT says, get someone to check the car over before signing anything or handing over any cash. The AA will do it and give you an honest appraisal of the condition of the car. If I were interested to buy a secondhand car, I'd be looking for a car with only one previous owner, no accidents, full service record, and less than four years old, probably a Japanese, Korean or German make.

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