The opening of Kenilworth’s railway station has been delayed until December 2017 because of problems with the signalling system.
After discussions between Warwickshire County Council, Jeremy Wright MP, the Department for Transport and Network Rail, it was decided the opening date should be pushed back to Sunday December 10.
Jeremy Wright MP said: “The Secretary of State for Transport has said that although the station delivery is on track, the main delays to the introduction of the new service are being caused by issues around the signalling project.
“Whilst this is disappointing, it does give a definite opening date after a number of slipped deadlines. I have written to Network Rail to seek assurance that the December 2017 deadline is met.”
Cllr Peter Butlin, portfolio holder for transport and planning at the council, said: “Whilst the station will be delivered by the County Council on time, Network Rail has been unable to meet the agreed dates to deliver the track and signalling works to enable the new train service at the station.
Leader of the council Cllr Izzi Seccombe has also written to Martin Frobisher, Programme Director of Network Rail, requiring an unconditional commitment from Network Rail that it will do all it can to ensure the station is open and served by trains by the new deadlines.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “From December 2017, coinciding with the national timetable change, people in Kenilworth will benefit from a new station and direct access to the railway.
“There has been a minor delay from the original date of August 2017 as we continue to work on the latest safe and state-of-the-art signalling system.
“We continue to work with all our partners to deliver the new station and remain committed to providing the people of Warwickshire with a bigger, better railway.”
This new delay is yet another to the station’s opening.
For a time, it was thought the station might be able to open in December 2016, but this target was not met because the Department for Transport and Network Rail insisted the council await the publication of the Hendy Report, which recommended changes to how the Government should upgrade the country’s railways.
The date was then pushed back to August 2017, but now this will not be achieved.
Once the station opens, it will have an hourly, one-carriage shuttle service between Coventry and Leamington, to be operated by London Midland.
Planning permission to start work on reopening the station was granted in 2011, but funding was initially refused by the county council.
In 2013, the Department for Transport announced a new fund to build or renovate stations, and the council successfully applied for a £5 million grant, paving the way for the project.
The cost of the new station is estimated at £12.1 million.
It is hoped the track at the station can be improved to a double-track in the future, and the station will be able to accommodate a double track should it eventually be approved.