As Rail Advisors to Warwickshire County Council our project team were delighted to be part of the official opening of Kenilworth Station. A plaque to mark the official opening was unveiled by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Right Honourable Chris Grayling MP.
A new station has opened in Kenilworth, providing a much-needed rail service for the town’s 25,000 population. It is on the site of the old Kenilworth station (closed in 1965) and is served by an hourly shuttle service running between Leamington Spa and Coventry.
This project is the second phase of a larger scheme of strategic rail upgrades to reduce traffic congestion and support the economy of the Leamington Spa to Nuneaton corridor. The first phase delivered new stations at Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park.
SLC Rail worked as rail advisors to Warwickshire County Council, developing the scheme from initial aspirations, through a successful application to the New Stations Fund, then managing the procurement and delivery of the design and build contract through to full station opening.
An essential part of this work was preparing a financial and economic business case. SLC Rail supported the Council, developing the case for Kenilworth Station through to Stage 3 of the Network Rail GRIP process, including application to the New Stations Fund which contributed £5m to its funding.
The remaining funding was provided by the Government’s Local Growth Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Warwickshire County Council.
The station was designed in consultation with local residents and embraces the history of the site. It includes two stained glass windows and a vintage sign salvaged from the original station building. These features were donated by Kenilworth residents and have contributed to the heritage feel of the station, requested by the local community.
Delivering the project
SLC Rail was responsible as the Council’s representative for the management of the detailed design and construction phase through to full approvals and putting the station into service. The team provided full-time project management, design management, commercial management and construction management.
Early in the detailed design phase, the planned dualling of this stretch of track was cancelled as a result of the Hendy Review. The team at SLC Rail worked with the Council and contractors to agree a solution with modified designs that give residents on both sides of the railway line step-free access, without the cost of the second platform.
The site has served different purposes since the old station was closed and some innovative approaches were required to complete the necessary groundworks. In particular, rerouting a mains sewer require more advanced tunnelling techniques to avoid disturbing the shallow foundations of a neighbouring structure.
Monica Fogarty, Joint Managing Director of Warwickshire County Council, said:
“Now that the station is opening it is time to celebrate the completion of a very complex project and for the town of Kenilworth to celebrate that once again it has got a rail station. This will provide a real boon for the local economy, bringing visitors to the town and also giving Kenilworth residents the opportunity to travel across Warwickshire without having to get in the car.”
Ian Walters, Managing Director of SLC Rail, added:
“I am proud of the outstanding work that the team from Warwickshire County Council and SLC Rail have done, not only to have delivered a new station for Kenilworth, but to have made it possible in the first place by creating the business case and securing substantial funding from the Government’s New Stations Fund.”