RAIL communters in Kenilworth can look forward to the full service resuming at the station in the new year.
All rail services by operator West Midlands Trains were suspended during the initial lockdown due to Covid.
Services were further suspended on the Leamington to Nuneaton line until early summer this year due to a lack of available drivers and crew, with many members of staff either contracting Covid or having to isolate as a contact.
Services were later partially reinstated, but Kenilworth Station was still not able to offer the full service.
But following a successful recruitment and training effort, more drivers are now available to be deployed on the Leamington to Nuneaton line, and West Midlands Trains’ bosses are confident the full service will be reinstated from January 29.
West Midlands Trains has been holding regular meetings with Kenilworth MP Jeremy Wright and Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe.
Mr Wright 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 Train’s customer experience director, Jonny Wiseman, said the operator had been working hard to catch up on lost training due to the pandemic.
He added: “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.”
Coun Seccombe was pleased to hear services would soon be reinstated.
She added: “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.”