Kenilworth Junction was created by the building of the 'cut
off' branch to Berkswell which opened for passenger traffic on 2nd March 1884.
Built by the LNWR as an alternative route to the GWR's services between
Leamington and Birmingham, the line never attracted the number of passengers
which the GWR route attracted. In 1910 only six trains used the line on
weekdays, two being Rugby - Birmingham via Leamington services but this had
reduced to just one service by the time the railways were nationalised in 1948.
The route was however much more useful for the transportation of goods traffic
as it avoided Coventry and the West Coast Main Line at Rugby. For a more
detailed history Robin Leach's book Rails to Kenilworth and Milverton
cannot be bettered. Local Leamington to Coventry passenger services continued
until 1965 when the service was withdrawn. The Berkswell 'cut off', which had
been extensively used in the mid-1960s as a diversionary route during the
electrification of the Birmingham to London and Trent Valley lines, was closed
on 1st March 1969.
The LNWR had invested considerably in the locality in the
mid-to-late 1880s building not just the Berkswell branch, but also carried out
the doubling of the Leamington to Rugby line together with the the doubling of
the Leamington to Coventry branch as far as the Junction. This reflected both
the need of the LNWR to compete with the GWR for the lucrative Leamington to
Birmingham passenger traffic as well as providing alternative routes for south
bound goods traffic. Both the London to Birmingham and Trent Valley lines were
at full capacity and therefore there was a pressing need for the LNWR to
provide goods traffic with alternative routes. The Nuneaton to Coventry line
was considered by the LNWR at the time as being one of its most profitable
secondary lines. As the Coventry to Leamington line was a significant adjunct
to this line its not unreasonable to assume it too was a significant generator
of revenue for the company.
Much of the information on this and other pages of
Warwickshire Railways is derived from articles or books listed in our 'bibliography'.
Frank Prew - in his 'office' and using his right hand
Ordnance Survey maps and LMS control Strips