THE OPENING of the new Kenilworth railway station has been delayed again – because there is no train available.
The first train was set to arrive at the town’s new £13.6million station on Sunday (December 10), but just days before the scheduled opening the Department for Transport (DfT) has said no train or drivers will be available until February to operate a service on the line running between Leamington and Coventry.
Monica Fogarty, Warwickshire County Council’s joint managing director, said: “I want Kenilworth to know that your council, county councillors and MP have all worked until the last minute to try to persuade the DfT to deliver and it is such a shame that this has not proved possible.”
“The DfT tells us there will be no train service until February. The department is unable to supply the train and drivers in order to meet the December opening date, and this is beyond disappointing for the people of Kenilworth
“The county council so wanted to be able to deliver as promised on this exciting scheme for Kenilworth and we share your disappointment. That said, two more months, having waited 53 years is not long, and it will be worth the wait.
“The station looks fantastic and true to the design which the Kenilworth people voted for. It is a station much deserved by Kenilworth and after 20 plus years of battling we are on the brink of a change which will support the continuing economic prosperity of the town.
The station was originally set to open last December, before being put back to August, and then again to this December.
Town councillor Richard Dickson was far from happy with the latest delay.
He said: “To say that Kenilworth has waited 53 years and that another two months won’t hurt displays an out of touch arrogance that is beyond belief.
“This is the single biggest inward investment in the town for decades. Kenilworth residents demand better from its county council. Its staff who are paid to manage such huge projects properly and its county councillors who are elected to serve local people.”
“To have missed the opportunities provided by Christmas and the New Year activities is a huge failure. What guarantees can there be that the DfT will deliver by February?”
The DfT contributed £5million to the total cost of the project, with the remainder of the funding being provided by local transport bodies and the county council.
The new Station Road station – on the site of the town’s former station which closed in 1965 as part of the so-called Beeching Cuts – also includes a ticket office, 90-space car park and cycle parking.