West Midlands Railway 153365 became the first train to call at Kenilworth station in 53 years, after the long-awaited opening of the town’s new station on April 30.
Forming the 0616 departure from Leamington Spa to Coventry, the arrival of the single-car unit marked the completion of a £13.8 million construction project on the site of the town’s former station, which was closed under the Beeching cuts in 1965.
The station’s opening will have come as a relief to Warwickshire County Council (WCC), which has faced mounting criticism over its management and cost control of the project (RAIL 850).
Since agreeing an £11.3m funding partnership in 2013 with Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (£3.5m) and the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund (£4.9m), costs have risen by 20% and the original opening date of December 2016 has been missed by 16 months.
WCC also tried to blame the DfT for holding up the scheme in December 2017, before it subsequently emerged that documentation required by the Office of Rail and Road to grant safety and regulatory approval had not yet been submitted.
“Now that the station is opening, it is time to celebrate the completion of a very complex project and for the town of Kenilworth to celebrate that once again it has a rail station,” said Monica Fogarty, Joint Managing Director of WCC.
“This will provide a real boon for the local economy, bringing visitors to the town and also giving Kenilworth residents the opportunity to travel across Warwickshire without having to get in their cars.
“My heartfelt thanks go to all the people of Kenilworth who have shown such patience while the work was being carried out. I am sure the new station will make it all worthwhile.”
- The FULL story will be in RAIL 852, published on May 9, and available digitally on iPad and Android from May 5.