Friday 4 Aug 2023
Urgent Warwick station upgrade redesign begins after unexpected find
Railway engineers are urgently redesigning Warwick station’s multi-million-pound accessibility upgrades after an unexpected discovery has forced teams to down tools.
Network Rail was midway through the work to install new lift shafts down into the station’s subway to provide step-free access to both platforms for the first time.
However, workers have found unexpected foundations believed to be from the first railway station built on the site in 1852, which lasted just 42 years before being destroyed by fire in 1894.
Unbeknown to today’s engineers, as it wasn't recorded in the plans of what was then rebuilt 129 years ago, it seems the current building is constructed on top of the original station’s 1852 foundations.
Those unexpected walls lie right where the lifts were due to go, and the substructure can’t be disturbed as it is integral to the existing building and platform.
It means new detailed designs now have to be drawn up for the lift shafts, pausing the building work for the time being.
Because construction inside the subway is well underway, it will have to stay closed with the diversionary walking route staying in place for passengers*.
People are being urged to use this route correctly, with incidents of people trespassing across the tracks to get between platforms still causing safety concerns.
Network Rail has today (Friday 4 August) apologised to passengers and local people for the unexpected delay.
Elinor Weymouth, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We know how much the accessibility upgrades mean to people in Warwick and we’re sorry this unexpected setback means the building work has to be paused.
“We are committed to delivering this vital work so the station is accessible for everyone, and are working hard to get new plans drawn up and workers back on site as soon as we possibly can.
“I want to thank passengers for their patience while this work goes on behind the scenes and urge everyone to continue to follow the walking diversion that’s in place while the subway is closed.”
Andy Camp, Chiltern Railways commercial & customer strategy director, said: “We regret that works at Warwick station have been paused while the project team assess the foundations that have been discovered.
“On occasion, excavation projects can throw up surprises such as this, but we will be working at pace with industry partners to determine how long the delay will be and when we can restart the work to enhance Warwick station and install the lifts.
“We would like to thank customers for their patience, and remind them that even though works are paused, the diversionary route between platforms remains very much in place.”
Despite the pause to work, security and platform patrollers will be at the station to prevent people trespassing on the tracks and guide passengers to the correct diversionary route between platforms.
Platform 1 has been temporarily shortened during the work so it can take place safely while allowing trains to keep running.
This means one less train a day calling at Warwick - though those services continue to call at Warwick Parkway and Leamington Spa.*
Because of these changes passengers are advised to check their journey during the work at Warwick station by using www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Notes to Editors
*The train services that will not call at Warwick station while work takes place are:
- Monday – Friday: 09:30 to Birmingham Snow Hill
- Saturday: 19:29 to Birmingham Snow Hill
- Sunday: 20:03 to Birmingham Snow Hill
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.