Opening of Kenilworth Station with full service ‘severely in doubt’

Photo by Fraser Pithie.
Photo by Fraser Pithie.

The opening of Kenilworth Station with a full service is ‘severely in doubt’ according to a Warwickshire county councillor.

Cllr Keith Kondakor (Green, Weddington), asked a question to council officers about whether the station would be delivered by its planned opening date of Sunday December 10 at recent Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

He said: “I believe there’s issues over the timetable and getting access to slots on the network, which will result in potentially not having a service starting on December 10 as planned.”

The officer replied to Cllr Kondakor by saying the timely delivery of the station was a ‘daily task’ the council was working on, and said it was working with Network Rail and rail operators to make sure this happens.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Kondakor explained the lack of a track access agreement between train companies London Midland, Cross Country Trains, Freightliner and Chiltern Railways has put the opening date into question.

The provisional timetable put forward for the Kenilworth service has to fit with other trains’ timetables, such as the Cross Country Bournemouth to Manchester Service. Currently, an agreement has not been reached.

The Office of Rail Regulation will make the final decision on the timetable once an agreement has been reached.

It could be possible that the station will open on time for access to trains with the unfinished parts cordoned off.

Cllr Kondakor said: “It’s now severely in doubt. They haven’t yet got a track access agreement.

“It’s all down to the rail regulator.”

A London Midland worker who wished to remain anonymous claimed although the station should be ready for trains by December 10, the service would not actually start until Monday February 19.

If the station is delayed, it will be yet another setback to the project.

Its original opening date was December 2016, but this was pushed back to August 2017 and then December 2017.

When it does open, it will run an hourly shuttle service between Coventry and Leamington.

The service and station will be run by West Midlands Trains, who will take over the franchise from London Midland on Sunday December 10.

The KWN did ask Warwickshire county Council for an update but we did not hear back before we went to press.