Passengers embracing newly-opened Kenilworth Station
Kenilworth's new railway station is being well-used by residents and visitors after being open for just over a week.
The station finally opened after several delays on Monday April 30, and passengers so far have been keen to use it despite there only being one train in either direction every hour and no service on Sundays.
While the service at the moment is minimal, the service operators West Midlands Railway, a part of West Midlands Trains, is planning to install a two-carriage train and link the service to Nuneaton in December.
Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs at West Midlands Trains, said: “The people of Kenilworth have really embraced their new station.
“Around 1,000 people travelled on the first day and we have been flooded with visitors just keen to see the new station building.
“The new station and train service shows the important role railways have to play in promoting and supporting local economies.”
One passenger, Graham Hyde, is particularly pleased after starting a campaign for a new station in Kenilworth back in 2004.
Graham, 56, of Rawnsley Drive, founded ‘A Station for Kenilworth’ along with his friend Richard Hicks 14 years ago.
The pair were on the first train out of the station, and Graham has been using the station to get to work in Warwick.
After all his campaigning, Graham said it felt ‘surreal’ that the station was finally up and running.
He added: “I think it’s gone really well so far.
“On reflection, I’m pleased at how much it feels like our (Kenilworth residents’) station. You already get the feeling that people want to use the station.
The guys at the ticket office are great too.
“I like how quickly the station has become normalised - we came back from Coventry on the first morning and there were people waiting to get on the train.”
Graham and Richard decided to form a campaign group all those years ago after comments from anti-station campaigners were gaining prominence.
Graham said he knew many people in Kenilworth wanted a station, adding: “We wanted to make sure the voices of the people were heard.”
When work on the station finally began in July 2016, Graham was very pleased as he said the station’s construction would finally be a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’.
And although he said delays to the project were ‘frustrating’, he said: “You have to be realistic about these things - I’ve worked on plenty of projects that didn’t deliver to the target time.
“The key thing is we’re now there.”
The service currently takes passengers between Leamington and Coventry.