According to Coventry Live, Warwickshire County Council has released its Draft Rail Strategy 2019-2034, in which there are proposals for enhancing rail services in Nuneaton and other locations around the county. For the town, it includes proposals for two new stations in addition to the two existing stops: one serving the west of Nuneaton around the Galley Common and Stockingford areas; another to the east between Nuneaton and Hinckley, tentatively called Nuneaton Parkway.
Improvements to rail services are a positive step in the promotion of cleaner transport solutions that reduce the need to bring cars into the town. To that end, the Parkway station may be particularly beneficial in providing a ‘park and ride’ type service. Situated appropriately, it can take visitors approaching by car from the A5, benefiting both Nuneaton and the nearby Leicestershire town of Hinckley
The proposals also mention refurbishments at Nuneaton’s existing main town centre station, one of which is to improve car-parking facilities there. And this is where I think the plans as reported are currently making a mistake. The town centre station should not be catering to drivers beyond a small allocation of spaces for those where driving is an unavoidable necessity. In the main, planners should be enabling rail travellers using urban-sited stations to always access those stations by foot, cycle, public transport, taxi if necessary, and only lastly by private vehicle.
Conversely, where parking at stations should be provided is at an out-of-town location – in this case, the proposed Nuneaton Parkway station (a similar station is also proposed for Rugby, named Rugby Parkway, situated near the M1). Here, generous and affordable parking options and frequent rail services can be used in conjunction with more expensive and limited in-town parking to keep visitors’ cars away from urban centres, reducing local traffic to the benefit of the residents and visitors alike.
Space at the town centre location of Nuneaton’s main station is at a premium. A significant amount of land is also currently given over to car-parking in the town already. Increasing this further only induces more driving, more congestion and the detrimental effects of the same – the very problems that increasing railway usage can help to solve!