Delays to Kenilworth Station project caused by 'perfect storm' of problems, review claims

A review into why Kenilworth Station's opening was so late claimed the project was delayed by a 'perfect storm' of several different problems.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 12:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:37 pm
Kenilworth Station opened on Monday April 30, 2018 after several delays

Kenilworth Station eventually opened on Monday April 30, 2018 - almost 17 months behind schedule.

After the £13.6 million station opened, station promoter Warwickshire County Council decided to undertake a Task and Finish Review into why the delays happened and what lessons could be learned for future projects.

The review, chaired independently by John Bridgeman CBE, was published on Wednesday January 16.

A review found there was a 'perfect storm' of problems which caused the delays

While it praised local campaigners and the county council for getting the station up and running in the face of tough challenges, it also said it could have been done better.

The review stated: "The project was in some ways a 'perfect storm' insofar as a series of circumstances beyond the control of any one organisation came together to complicate matters and cause delays.

"There are several elements of the Kenilworth Station project that could have been executed more effectively.

"No project is perfect and there are always lessons to be learned."

The review identified Network Rail's Hendy Review, published in November 2015, as a key reason for the delays to the project.

It meant a plan to install a twin track through Kenilworth and electrify the line would be put on hold, meaning the entire project had to be changed.

Further complications came when the company due to operate the station and its trains, London Midland, changed to West Midlands Trains.

This meant it took longer for train carriages to become available for the service.

Although the review said Warwickshire County Council had done well in areas such as staying within budget, albeit by using contingency funds, it criticised the council's communication with the public about the project, especially when it came to announcing opening dates.

The council announced four false dates during the project - December 2016, August 2017, December 2017 and February 2018.

The review said: "The decision to broadcast revised opening dates which were then missed led to a degree of frustration from Kenilworth residents and local politicians.

"A key lesson for the review has been to be less precise when announcing completion dates for major projects. This does not mean that there should be a lack of transparency."

It recommended the public should be warned from the start that projects like this are complex, despite looking simple at first glance.

Kenilworth Station currently operates a shuttle service every hour between Coventry and Leamington.