Two new stations on the Coventry-Nuneaton line - at Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park - finally opened for public use on January 18.
The stations are part of a £13.6 million programme to improve rail services between Coventry and Nuneaton, and the first phase of the NUCKLE (NUneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth and LEamington Spa) project to develop the route from Nuneaton to Leamington Spa, which will include a new platform at Coventry and a new station at Kenilworth.
Bermuda Park and Coventry Arena (known locally as Ricoh Arena) both have an hourly service each way, taking 18 and nine minutes respectively to Coventry, and four and 13 minutes from Nuneaton.
A single-car Class 153 unit is usually provided by train operator London Midland. Because of the limited capacity, trains will not serve Coventry Arena when there are sporting or music events, for example, in order to avoid overcrowding. The independent stadium Safety Advisory Group has ordered a one-hour closure after major events.
Coventry City Council was responsible for the delivery of the two stations in its area. Both facilities have been delayed for several months, although the causes have not been made public.
John McNicholas, Coventry City Council Lead Member for Transport, said: “It’s taken a while, certainly longer than we had hoped for, but finally the stations will be open and I’m delighted about that. Although the station won’t be open directly after matches or on major event days until Wasps, Coventry City Football Club or events sponsors charter trains, the new service will still provide lots of advantages for local people.”
Elsewhere, a new station at Kirkstall Forge (near Leeds) is due to open imminently, to be followed in the spring by Bromsgrove (a replacement facility) and Lea Bridge (between Tottenham and Stratford in London). Due to open in the summer are Low Moor (near Bradford) and Ilkeston. Kenilworth may also open before the end of this year.
However, on January 20 Network Rail said that completion of the new Cambridge North station had slipped from December 2016 to May 2017.