Normal service is set to resume at Kenilworth railway station in the new year.
All West Midlands Trains rail services were suspended during the initial lockdown due to Covid. Services were further suspended on the Leamington to Nuneaton line until early summer 2021 due to a lack of available drivers and crew, with many members of staff either contracting Covid or having to isolate as a contact.
Later that year, they were partially reinstated. However, Kenilworth railway station was still not able to offer the full service.
West Midlands Trains have been holding regular meetings with MP for Kenilworth and Southam, Jeremy Wright, and Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, as all parties moved to urgently address the issues that were preventing Kenilworth from receiving the full service.
Due to a successful recruitment and training effort, more drivers are now available to be deployed on the Leamington - Nuneaton line, and West Midlands Trains is confident that the full service will be reinstated from January 29.
Jeremy Wright MP said: "It has taken longer than any of us would have liked, but I welcome the fact that we now have a date for a full resumption of services from Kenilworth Station.
"On behalf of regular users of the station, who have put up with unreliable trains and a variable replacement bus service, and all those who want to see the station succeed, the Leader of the County Council and I have been applying considerable pressure to West Midlands Trains in what have been sometimes robust conversations. I am pleased to see this progress and look forward to seeing the reliability of the service improve."
West Midlands Railway’s customer experience director, Jonny Wiseman, said; “We are fully committed to the Leamington to Nuneaton service and have been working hard to catch up on lost training due to the pandemic. Based on our current rate of progress, I am delighted that we will be able to return to the full timetable from the end of January.
“There is still more to be done. To complete the training to fill all the remaining positions at our Leamington depot will take several more months. I am sorry for the disruption and inconvenience this has caused our passengers.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “After all parties worked so hard to bring the station to fruition, it was very frustrating that Kenilworth was not able to enjoy the service it had had. The county council and the local MP have been working very hard to tackle the obstacles preventing that.
“We know that the new guidance around working from home and the implication for travel is casting uncertainty but, hopefully, we will be in a better place by the end of January. If, at that point, people are able to travel more safely, I’m delighted that the full service will resume at Kenilworth.”