'Kenilworth's railway line has become an expensive white elephant - we deserve better' demands angry councillor

Councillors have renewed calls to upgrade the line - dubbed as one of the worst performing lines in the country - to allow mainline train services to stop at Kenilworth Station

Councillors have renewed calls to upgrade the Leamington to Coventry rail line to a dual track while urging railway bosses to allow mainline train services to stop at Kenilworth Station.
Councillors have renewed calls to upgrade the Leamington to Coventry rail line to a dual track while urging railway bosses to allow mainline train services to stop at Kenilworth Station.

Councillors have renewed calls to upgrade the Leamington to Coventry rail line to a dual track while urging railway bosses to allow mainline train services to stop at Kenilworth Station.

The demands come after one councillor dubbed the line an expensive white elephant with another lamenting that passengers had to endure a below-par service on one of the worst performing lines in the country.

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The matter was raised at this week’s full council meeting of Warwick District Council when Cllr Richard Dickson (Lib Dem, Kenilworth St John’s) proposed a notice of motion in relation to the service known as the NUCKLE line.

Cllr Dickson said: “It was an ambitious plan back in 2011 - a plan costing more than £13m of taxpayers money - when planning permission was granted for a two-platform station. This was on the basis that the whole line from Leamington to Coventry would be upgraded from single to double track.

“But the service on the line has never been acceptable. Firstly the plan was scaled down to a single track with no cross-country trains stopping at Kenilworth and then the opening of the line was delayed at least three time. When it did eventually open in December 2018 it was just one carriage - a bus on wheels - with no Sunday service.

“It is no surprise that from the get go the line has, sadly, been an expensive white elephant. Even before Covid there were frequent delays and cancellations. People will not arrange to use a rail line if people don’t trust the train will be running on time - if at all.”

Cllr Dickson’s motion, which was given cross-party support, involves writing to West Midlands Trains to welcome its recent announcement that the hourly service on the line is due to restart on Sunday - click here to read our story on this.

It will also see a letter written to the Department for Transport, calling on the Secretary of State to bring forward with other regional stakeholders the investment required by the earlier promises to upgrade the line to a dual track whilst also encouraging mainline train services to stop at Kenilworth station.

It was agreed that those letters would be copied to local MPs and the county council’s transport portfolio holder.

Cllr Phil Kohler (Lib Dem, Leamington Lillington), who seconded the motion, said: “We need the tracks to be electrified and we need the service to go beyond Leamington and down to Warwick and Stratford. But in the meantime we have one of the worst performing services in the country.”