Coventry to Nuneaton line
|Coventry to Nuneaton Line|
|Type||Commuter rail, Rail freight|
West Midlands (region)
|Operator(s)||West Midlands Trains|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Coventry to Nuneaton Line is a railway line linking Coventry and Nuneaton in the West Midlands of England. The line has a passenger service. It is also used by through freight trains, and freight trains serving facilities on the route.
The current passenger stations on the route are Nuneaton, Bermuda Park, Bedworth, Coventry Arena and Coventry. Freight services run to Bedworth Murco Oil Terminal and Prologis Park Industrial Estate. The line has previously served many other small stations and now-closed goods yards.
Until 2016, the only intermediate station on the route was Bedworth. On 14 December 2011, the UK Government announced an £18.8 million project to upgrade the line, which included new stations at the Ricoh Arena and Bermuda Park (opened January 2016), lengthening of the platforms at Bedworth, and increasing the service frequency from hourly to half-hourly.
The line is currently not electrified, but it was proposed to electrify it at 25 kV AC overhead as part of the Electric Spine scheme. This scheme has been put on hold along with other electrification projects.
All passenger services on the line are operated by West Midlands Trains who run an hourly service in each direction, provided by a two coach Class 172 diesel unit. In July 2016 it was announced that a prototype three coach Class 230 unit, would be trialled on the line for an initial period of 12 months. The unit consists of three rebuilt carriages of a former London Underground D78 Stock train. After the prototype unit caught fire in December 2016, it was announced in January 2017 that the planned trial had been cancelled.
On 26 January 1857, 23 of the 28 arches of the Spon End viaduct collapsed. This meant trains travelling south terminated at Coundon Road while the viaduct was rebuilt. This took three and a half years to complete and services to Coventry were restored on 1 October 1860.
The line originally had intermediate stations at Coundon Road, Foleshill, Longford and Exhall, Hawkesbury Lane, Bedworth and Chilvers Coton. In 1917, Daimler Halt was opened between Coundon Road and Foleshill. But this was a private halt for the use of workers at the adjacent Daimler factory, and was not accessible to the general public. There were also various branches and sidings running from the line to serve local coal mines and factories, the longest of which was the 'Coventry Loop Line' (see below)
The line came under the ownership of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) in 1922, and then British Railways in 1948. The little-used Longford and Exhall station was closed in 1949. All of the other intermediate stations were closed on 18 January 1965 (along with those on the Coventry to Leamington Line) when passenger services were withdrawn as a consequence of The Reshaping of British Railways report. Following this, the line became freight-only for the next 22 years.
British Rail restored passenger services to the line on 11 May 1987, under the Speller Act. Initially there were no intermediate stations on the re-opened line until 16 May 1988 when the rebuilt Bedworth station was opened.
Coventry Loop Line
The Coventry Loop Line was a freight-only branch which ran from Three Spires Junction on the Coventry–Nuneaton Line to Humber Road Junction on the Coventry–Rugby Line. The line was built so freight trains could avoid running through Coventry station, and was first opened in 1914. It had two goods stations at Bell Green and Gosford Green, as well as a number of sidings serving local industries, but never had any scheduled passenger service, although passenger trains occasionally used the line as a diversionary route during engineering works.
Humber Road Junction was closed in 1963, after goods traffic dwindled, and so the branch became a long siding from Three Spires Junction. The last traffic to the Chrysler factory ended in 1981, and the rest of the branch closed in September that year. The track was lifted in 1982. Much of the former trackbed of the line has since been built over as part of the A444 Phoenix Way.
2016 station openings
The line runs near to the Ricoh Arena stadium on the northern edge of Coventry. Funding for two new stations, Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park, was approved in December 2011. New plans will also see the number of carriages increased from 1 to 3 and the service upgraded to half hourly, a new platform built at Coventry station and also future extensions of the line to Kenilworth and Leamington Spa. After the completion of the Electric Spine project, such a service would be operated by electric multiple units.
Work on building the stations started in October 2014 with the stations opening on 18 January 2016, however the upgrade at Coventry station to allow additional train services between Coventry and Nuneaton, calling at the new stations, will not be ready until summer 2017.
From 19 May 2019, services on the Coventry to Nuneaton route have been significantly upgraded by West Midlands Trains, with the single-car Class 153s replaced by 2-car Class 172 units, and the number of services doubled following the opening of the intended new platform at Coventry. Saturdays (which will coincide with games at the Ricoh Arena) will see three trains per hour in each direction. The line is also connected with the Coventry to Leamington Spa line, with direct trains from Nuneaton to Leamington Spa.
- "London Midland: Coventry - Nuneaton timetable". London Midland. London Midland. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "Coventry to Nuneaton rail upgrade given go ahead". BBC. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- "Coventry to Nuneaton rail upgrade approved". Coventry City Council. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Rail electrification plans scrapped". BBC News. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
- "Recycled Tube trains to re-enter passenger service this year". Global Rail News. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Coventry to Nuneaton trial scrapped after test train fire". BBC. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- Hurst, Geoffrey (1993). LNWR Branch Lines of West Leicestershire & East Warwickshire (First ed.). Milepost Publications. ISBN 0-947796-16-9.
- "LMS Route: Coventry Loop Line". Warwickshire Railways.com. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Galland, Paul (2 March 2009). "NUCKLE Phase 1 - Nuneaton to Coventry Rail Line upgrade" (PDF). Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- "Work to start on two new rail stations in Coventry and Nuneaton". Coventry Telegraph. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "Work on Bermuda Park railway station in Nuneaton starts". BBC News. BBC. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Two new rail stations will open on Monday 18 January" (Press release). London Midland. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- "Ricoh rail line and Coventry station upgrade faces TWO YEAR delay". Coventry Observer. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- "West Midlands Trains" (PDF). Stourbridge Line User Group. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
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