Kenilworth Station's opening delay down to county council, rail regulator confirms

The delay to the opening of Kenilworth Station's is down to Warwickshire County Council, the rail regulator has confirmed.

Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 10:40 am
New correspondence has shown Warwickshire County Council is responsible for the delay to Kenilworth Station's opening, despite earlier claims to the contrary.

In correspondence seen by the KWN, Joanna Whittington, chief executive of the rail regulator Office for Road and Rail (ORR), said the station's opening can only be authorised when Warwickshire County Council gives the ORR 'all the information' it requires on the station's safety.

It said the council had not yet done this, and that the council had not advised the ORR when it would like train services to start.

This is despite Warwickshire County Council claiming it was the Department for Transport that had held up the project in a statement last December.

It was later announced by the council that the station would open at some point in February, with joint managing director announcing an opening date of Monday February 26 at the Kenilworth Community in Action event.

After that date was not met, the council has not yet revealed why the station's opening has been delayed or when services are likely to start.

Network Rail confirmed its share of the work for the station had been completed in December last year, and station operators West Midlands Railway also confirmed they have been ready to go since December as well.

Rail enthusiast and freelance rail journalist Fraser Pithie, a Kenilworth resident, was highly critical of the council after this revelation.

He said: "The persistent stonewalling of residents and media enquiries by the county council has been indefensible. We have it confirmed that it’s been Warwickshire County Council all along who are responsible for the failure of our new railway station to open in December last year.

“There are serious questions that require answers, not least why the county council at its highest level, chose not only to deny responsibility for the failure to open on time but sought to blame other stakeholders. It's reprehensible."

Speaking on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire this morning (Tuesday), the county council's joint managing director Monica Fogarty said the station was 'very close' to opening.

She added: "The station is complete and is physically ready for operation. We are today (Tuesday) submitting that information to the ORR.

"In good faith we cannot issue a date (for opening) until the ORR have signed it off."

The £13.6 million project has been beset by delays since work began to build the station in July 2016.

The original opening date was December 2016, then August 2017, then December 2017, and February 2018.

West Midlands Railway has tweeted the station will not open before Easter.

When the station does open, it will run an hourly service between Leamington and Coventry. There will be no services on Sunday.