TRAINS are on track to stop at Kenilworth for the first time in half a century next year on the new Coventry to Leamington so-called NUCKLE passenger service.
New stations have already been built at Coventry Arena (at the Ricoh Arena) and Bermuda Park.
Road works are underway at Warwick Road by Coventry station to build a new platform there for the NUCKLE (Nuneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington) service, which trebles trains between Coventry and Nuneaton.
A ‘spade in the ground’ event on Friday marked the start of work on the new Kenilworth station.
It is expected to be operational next year and will be located in Priory Road, town centre – a stone’s throw away from the site of the old Victorian station site in Station Approach at the end of Station Road.
It was a victim of the ‘Lord Beeching’ widespread rail station closures, in the 1960s.
The start-of-work event was attended by Kenilworth MP Jeremy Wright, Warwickshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning, Councillor Peter Butlin, and Mayor of Kenilworth, councillor Richard Davies.
The £23million NUCKLE project is being funded by Coventry City Council in addition to the county council and Department for Transport (DfT).
Nick Abell, Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership board member, said: “We are delighted that funding through the Growth Deal has helped to make this important project possible.
“The station will provide a vital transport link and boost for the local economy and we’re delighted to celebrate this milestone in the project.”
We reported last week delays to trains stopping at the Ricoh Arena station which opened year for matchdays and events are finally being addressed, with the new Coventry council leadership agreeing a pilot scheme to use former London Undergound tube stations for events.
The new platform at Coventry station – which prevents the new additional local trains slowing down Intercity fast trains on the West Coast Main Line – is considered crucial to attempts to rejuvenate struggling Coventry city centre, including with the Friargate business development for which the council itself is so far the only confirmed tenant.
The Kenilworth station follows a long campaign by ASK (A Station for Kenilworth).
The old 1844 station, which closed to both goods and passenger traffic in 1965, included a footbridge which will be a ‘heritage style’ feature of the new station.
Two original stained glass windows and a Kenilworth rail station sign salvaged from the town’s former station have been donated to Warwickshire County Council to be included in the new station design.
The council says the historic pieces were rescued and kept safe after they were saved from the demolition of the original station in the 1980s.
Operator London Midland and the county council have been working together to develop the specification for the new station building, which will include a ticket office and a community cafe.
Stratford Parkway Rail Station also opened in 2013.