COVENTRY station is to get a new station building and pedestrian tunnel link as part of plans for a new bay platform serving trains to the Ricoh and beyond to Nuneaton and Leamington.
Construction of a new 6 x 24 metre access tunnel which will be connected to the new building is set to get under way at the end of this month – going under Warwick Road near Central Six shopping complex.
It will mean months of traffic disruption along Warwick Road, with one lane being shut in each direction.
Coventry City Council has announced the work will start later this month on the new tunnel, which will connect the station to the new platform built as phase 2 of the NUCKLE (Nuneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington) train service.
The Coventry Observer revealed last September the completion of the new platform as part of much-delayed Nuckle scheme had been held up for a further two years, to summer 2017.
The council now says the first trains on the new bay platform will be the end of 2017.
Trains to and from Coventry serving the now opened Coventry Arena station at the Ricoh are being held up partly because of the delays to the new bay platform and signalling work on the line. Train operator London Midland has also said it does not have enough rolling stock amid a shortage of diesel trains.
The tunnel work is part of the Coventry Station Masterplan which includes a second station building with an entrance off Warwick Road, a new footbridge, a new multi-storey car-park and a bus interchange.
The plan is partly to serve the new office development Friargate, where the council will be the first tenant – relocating staff from its city centre office buildings.
The existing listed station building will remain. The new building will include a ticket office to help serve the station’s expected extra use by passengers.
The council says the tunnel will create a “wide pedestrian link and enable people who park on the Central Six side of the station to walk to the station without crossing a road” – although there is already a pedestrian link running next to the rail line from the station’s car park, which is adjacent to Central Six car park.
Building the bay platform will start “next year”, the council says.
The tunnel is funded by a £3million grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) as part of the government’s Growth Deal initiative and work is set to start on March 29.
The lane closures on Warwick Road from March 29 will continue to early December this year, the council says. Some preparatory work will start next week.
Councillor Rachel Lancaster, public services cabinet member, said: “This is more great news for Coventry. The new tunnel will create a light spacious environment for pedestrians and improve the look and feel of the station area.
“There will, of course, be some disruption to drivers while the work is carried out, but there are no planned full road closures and Central Six and the Warwick Road shops opposite are open as usual.”
Once completed the tunnel will stay closed until the whole new station building is finished in 2019, because it is part of the building rather than a stand-alone structure.
The new platform will enable trains that run north to Nuneaton and Bedworth and south to Kenilworth and Leamington to pull in, off the main West Coast main line to London.