THE FIRST train leaving Kenilworth Station has been delayed.
The new £12million station, initially providing a shuttle service between Coventry and Leamington, had been set to open in August but has had to be put back due to track and signalling work delays. It is now set to open on December 10.
The Department for Transport’s New Station Fund is contributing £5million to the total £12million cost of the Kenilworth Station project, with the remainder of the funding being provided by local transport bodies and Warwickshire County Council.
County transport spokesman Coun Peter Butlin said: “Whilst the station will be delivered by the County Council on time, Network Rail has been unable to meet the agreed dates to deliver the track and signalling works to enable the new train service at the station.”
And Kenilworth MP Jeremy Wright is determined to see the station open before the end of the year.
Mr Wright said: “The Secretary of State for Transport has said that although the station delivery is on track, the main delays to the introduction of the new service are being caused by issues around the signalling project.
“Whilst this is disappointing, it does give a definite opening date after a number of slipped deadlines. I have written to Network Rail to seek assurance that the December 2017 deadline is met.”
County council leader Izzi Seccombe has also written to Martin Frobisher, programme director of Network Rail, calling for an “unconditional commitment” on the part of Network Rail that it will do everything necessary to ensure the station is open and served by the December date.
The new Priory Road station – replacing the town’s former station which closed in 1965 as part of the infamous Beeching Cuts – will also include a ticket office, 90-space car park and cycle parking.
The new station design, which includes a main station building and footbridge, has been designed in a ‘heritage’ style, incorporating design elements from the original station, including two original stained glass windows and a Kenilworth rail station sign salvaged from the town’s former station.
The station’s new bridge will mean train services will be accessible from both sides of the track.