It is, of course, welcome news that work is to start soon on Kenilworth’s new railway station. But the question has to be asked: Why is it costing so much?
According to Warwickshire County Council’s website, the projected cost is £12.1 million – yet new stations currently being developed between Oxford and Bicester along the first phase of the East West Railway have lower costs while being built for longer trains, according to my sources close to the project.
Indeed, the station most similar in scale to Kenilworth’s, at Islip, is costing only £2.5 million, little more than a fifth of the price quoted for our new station. The rebuilt station at Islip will have two platforms, 200 metres long, able to accommodate eight-car trains, and there will be parking for 50 cars.
Kenilworth’s new station will also have two platforms (in readiness for duplicating the track from Leamington Spa). However, these will be only 100 metres long, able to accommodate only four-car trains (but including ‘passive provision’ for later extension, at further cost, to eight-car lengths), and parking for 88 cars (according to WCC’s website). By comparison, on the East West Railway, Bicester Town station (being rebuilt for eight-car length trains) will offer 300 car parking spaces, and is estimated to cost £7.2 million. And the largest station between Oxford and Bicester – Water Eaton Parkway (on the northern outskirts of Oxford) which will provide parking for 425 cars and will also have two eight-car length platforms – is costed at £10 million. But £3.6 million of that is accounted for by the need to relocate the railfreight aggregates depot that previously occupied the site.
Therefore, the question remains – at a time when Warwickshire County Council has just announced a council tax increase at 1.9 per cent, ahead of inflation – why Kenilworth’s station is estimated to cost relatively so much more than new stations between Oxford and Bicester?
Alan Marshall, Inchbrook Road, Kenilworth