New bid expected for town’s train station
PLANS to restore Kenilworth’s train station are picking up steam with confirmation of electrification of the line and a funding bid ready to be submitted any day now.
Network Rail announced the start of major upgrading works across the UK which will include doubling the tracks and electrification of the line between Coventry and Leamington.
It will be the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era and include overhead electrification and additional double track through Kenilworth.
And although plans do not include a station for Kenilworth, there are high hopes that the improvements will only help a funding bid for millions of pounds soon to be submitted to the Department for Transport bring life back to the tracks.
Last summer, the then Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, announced that the DfT would be making a £20million fund available for new railway stations under the New Stations Fund.
The opening date for submissions is not yet known but Warwickshire County Council has already finalised a bid ready in hope of restoring the station in Priory Road and making Kenilworth a prime stop for rail travellers.
County councillor John Whitehouse, who has been involved with plans to bring back the town station for almost 10 years, said they simply need to wait for bidding to open to submit their case. And that the electrification of the track could only improve their chances.
He said: “Kenilworth station ticks all the boxes but these funding pots are always so oversubscribed you never know.
“We have been in dialogue with train companies and they are interested. It is just a case of getting the funding and pulling it all together.
“We have to be patient and wait until the bid can be submitted and that could be any time now.”
He said an exact figure to complete the build was not clear at this stage but could be around £6million. And as the tracks will be doubled, a new station would require two platforms.
Alan Marshall, a rail journalist who lives in Inchbrook Road previously told the KWN that the electrification would create “lots of opportunity for a Kenilworth station”.
Plans to reopen the station have been in the pipeline for years, but in 2011, funding plans fell through and plans to have it open by August 2013 were dashed.
Warwickshire County Council applied for funds from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to pay for the plans which were designed with a footbridge, two platforms and ticket machines.
When this funding bid was submitted, planning permission was granted in principle by Warwick District Council for the build to go ahead, but this may need to be re approved if funds can be secured second time around and the move becomes a reality.
It is also understood that as all the bridges above the railway line were raised in the 1960s, they would not need to be raised again to accommodate the electrification.
County councillor Peter Butlin, with responsibility for transport and highways, said: “We welcome the news that Network Rail has included the electrification of the Coventry to Leamington line in its five year plan.
“It has long been our ambition to build a new station to serve Kenilworth and the council is preparing to submit a bid for Government funding to build Kenilworth station.
“The scheme is ‘shovel ready’, meaning we are in a position to deliver the station project if we are successful with the bid.”
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Weather for Kenilworth
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
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