Urgent Warwick station upgrade redesign begins after unexpected discovery

Warwick station’s multi-million-pound accessibility upgrades are being urgently redesigned after an unexpected discovery.

Warwick station platforms

Credit: Network Rail

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.

The unexpected foundations found after demolition of concrete subway steps at Warwick station

Credit: Network Rail

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 apologised to passengers and local people for the unexpected delay.

“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,” Elinor Weymouth, Scheme Project Manager for Network Rail, said. “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.”

“We regret that works at Warwick station have been paused while the project team assess the foundations that have been discovered,” Andy Camp, Chiltern Railways Commercial & Customer Strategy Director, said. “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.”

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 one has been temporarily shortened during the work so it can take place safely while allowing trains to keep running.