Kenilworth railway station plan receives £5m backing
Plans to reintroduce a railway station to a town which lost its rail link in the 1960s have been announced.
Proposals for a new £11.3m station for Kenilworth were submitted in March, including a request for £5m from the government's New Stations Fund.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited the Warwickshire town and announced the scheme has government backing.
Kenilworth lost its station, but not its track, in the 1960s Beeching cuts.
The New Stations Fund will provide up to £5m, which is the biggest single allocation since the fund launched in January.'Long time coming'
The remaining money needed for the project will come from Warwickshire County Council.
In April 2011 the authority announced funding had been refused but said the scheme remained "a priority".
Mr McLoughlin said: "Our support for Kenilworth station illustrates our commitment to working with community and national partners to meet local transport needs... with the biggest programme of rail investment ever."
Councillor Peter Butlin, portfolio holder for transport and highways, said having the new station will provide better access to employment opportunities for people in the town.
New Stations Fund recipients
- Kenilworth, Warwickshire, £5m
- Newcourt, Devon, about £0.75m
- Ilkeston, Derbyshire, over £4.5m
- Lea Bridge, Waltham Forest, over £1m
- Pye Corner, Newport, over £2.15m
"With the introduction of the new train service, the benefits are going to be felt over a much wider area," he added.
Tim Harris, editor of Railway News, said it would be good news for the town.
"Kenilworth is one of the largest towns in the whole of the West Midlands that doesn't have a railway station and this has been a long time coming," he added.
Graham Hyde from ASK (A Station for Kenilworth) said: "With the New Stations Fund money theoretically it could be built within 18 months or two years."'Not bothered'
The news of the station brought a mixed reaction from residents in the town.
Craig Bragg said it would make it easier to visit London and Birmingham.
Steve Townsend commented: "It's a much better use of money than HS2. I'll definitely use it for trips into Leamington and Coventry."
But Thomas Cox said trains were too expensive, adding "the car's far easier".
HS2 protester Peter Jones said he was "not bothered" about the town's station.
"They might just be agreeing to give money for the station so people here let HS2 go through," Mr Jones said.
The station will be on the Coventry to Leamington Spa line, allowing Kenilworth rail connections with London and the wider Midlands.
Train operator London Midland said it expects to provide local services to the town.
CrossCountry Trains said it supports the station plans but has not made any local service decisions.
Currently long-distance trains that do not make local stops use the route.
Network Rail is carrying out work to integrate the plans for Kenilworth Station with other rail works, including electrification and schemes to increase capacity, planned for the line between 2014 and 2019.
It will include two 100m (109yd) platforms capable of being used by four-carriage trains, with provision for these to be lengthened in the future if necessary.
The target date for the station to open will be confirmed later in the year.