June 2014 marks five years since the publication of the Connecting Communities report into potential opportunities to expand the rail network. This blog will be publishing a set of posts during June to review the progress that has been made to date. This is the fifth post in the “Five Years On” series.
This post reviews the progress of two of the proposed Park & Ride railway stations.
Located on the Midland Mainline between Bedford and Wellingborough, a station was proposed at the site of the former Irthlingborough station. It had the highest BCR for a proposed Park and Ride station at 10.2.
Northamptonshire County Council has advised that they have no plans to reopen the railway station on the Midland Mainline. The report inadvertently advised that the station would be built on the Irthlingborough site and not Irchester.
The proposal for a railway station at Kenilworth has had a difficult journey. The ATOC report located in between Leamington and Coventry and assumed that the line would be doubled.
In September 2009, Warwickshire County Council and John Laing signed an agreement to fund and deliver the railway station. Both parties moved quickly to progress plans, including land purchase and submitting bids for funding.
However, in October 2010, it was confirmed that the Department for Transport Major Scheme Bid funding route was no longer available to new entrants.
Consequently and after exploring other potential sources of funding, the county council and John Laing submitted a bid for funding through the new Regional Growth Fund in January 2011.
Unfortunately the bid was unsuccessful and the County Council and John Laing have reviewed their relationship.
The agreement will now continue until June 2011 in order to complete some outstanding work in order that the scheme will be in an advanced state of readiness to take advantage of future funding opportunities.
This left the proposals in a good position to take advantage of future funding opportunities. The Government announced the New Stations Fund and Warwickshire County Council submitted a bid to the government in March 2013. The government confirmed in May 2013 that it was minded to approve funding following further work on the impact of the railway station on the existing infrastructure and proposed improvements. This approval was granted in December 2013 with plans to begin services on the Coventry – Kenilworth- Leamington corridor in December 2016.