Leeds railway station

Leeds railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Leeds

code = LDS
manager = Network Rail
locale = Leeds
borough = City of Leeds
pte = West Yorkshire (Metro)
zone = 1
usage0405 = 14.734
usage0506 = 16.060
usage0607 = 17.357
platforms = 17
start = 1938
Rebuilt 1967
Rebuilt 2002
latitude = 53.794
longitude = -1.547

Leeds railway station (often known by its official name Leeds City) is the mainline railway station serving the city centre of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. The station provides connections to London, Southampton, Bournemouth, Plymouth and the south, Birmingham, Leicester and the Midlands, Bristol and the West Country, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh and the north, and Manchester and Liverpool and the west, as well as to local and regional destinations. It is also the terminus for trains running on the scenic Settle to Carlisle line, as well as the hub of an extensive MetroTrain commuter network. It is located on New Station Street to the south of City Square, at the bottom of Park Row, behind the landmark Queens Hotel.

The station is one of 17 in Great Britain to be managed by Network Rail. It is the busiest English station outside London, and the UK's second busiest station outside London after Glasgow Central. [http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/xls/station-usage-2006-07.xls]


The station is situated on a hill falling from the south of the city down to the River Aire and the Leeds canal basin; much of it is supported on a huge number of Victorian brick vaulted arches. These are known to the people of Leeds as The Dark Arches. Situated just off Neville Street under the Dark Arches is Granary Wharf which is a shopping centre consisting of cafes, restaurants, shops and exhibition spaces nestling in the arches directly beneath the railway station.

The station itself has 17 platforms, making it the largest in England outside London. There are both through platforms and terminus platforms. Retail facilities within the station include Wetherspoons, Burger King, McDonalds, two branches of WH Smith, Boots, Upper Crust and a Marks & Spencer "simply food" store. A British Transport Police police station is situated on the north concourse, housing officers who police the Leeds and West Yorkshire railway stations.

Leeds station is of note in that it retained manned ticket barriers during the 1990s and still retains them to this day. During this time barriers were removed from almost every British Rail station; automatic barriers have now returned to many stations, particularly in London and the South-East. Liverpool Lime Street was another station that retained manned barriers; both stations are characterised by a mix of suburban and long-distance services. Large queues regularly build up at the barriers, especially during peak hours. Northern Rail, which operates the ticket barriers at Leeds, is currently installing automatic ticket gates to improve the flow of passengers which will be in use from late September 2008. [ [http://www.northernrail.org/page/5/18420] ] [http://www.wymetro.com/News/080729-4.htm]


Past railway stations

The railways first came to Leeds in 1834, when the Leeds and Selby Railway (which became part of the North Eastern Railway) opened its line. This had a terminus at Marsh Lane, to the east of the city centre. In 1840, the North Midland Railway (one of the original constituents of the Midland Railway) constructed its line from Derby via Rotherham to a terminus at Hunslet Lane, to the south. This was extended to a more centrally-located terminus at Wellington Street in 1846, known as "Wellington Station".

Another station, "Central Station" (also situated on Wellington Street), was opened in 1854 by the Manchester and Leeds Railway and the London and North Western Railway, or LNWR. This station was eventually owned jointly by the LNWR and the North Eastern Railway, but other companies also had powers to run trains there, including the Great Northern Railway and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

In 1869 a station called "New Station" opened as a joint enterprise by the LNWR and the North Eastern Railway. This connected the former Leeds and Selby Railway line to the east with the LNWR lines to the west. A mile-long connection was built, carried entirely on viaducts and bridges. New Station itself was built partially on a bridge over the River Aire. It was situated adjacent to Wellington station.

[http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cj.tolley/rjd/rjd-040.htm This map] shows the variety of different railway lines in Leeds in 1913.Following the 1921 Railways Act, when railways in Great Britain were grouped into four companies, New Station remained jointly-operated, but now by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER).

1938 rebuilding

The first rationalisation occurred in 1938, when two stations (New and Wellington) were combined to form "Leeds City Station". The third station, Central, was unaffected by the change. Part of Wellington station became a parcels depot. This project also saw the construction of the North Concourse and the Queens Hotel.

1967 rebuilding

In 1967 a further remodelling of the site took place, when all traffic using Central station was diverted into the City station with it becoming the single main railway station serving the city. Central station was closed and has since been demolished. The viaduct leading to Central is one of many such disused viaducts visible near Leeds station. A huge amount of engineering work was involved, including the replacement of 100-year-old bridges over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the construction of a new concourse and an overall roof. At the time of this rebuilding, the station was served by 500 trains on a typical day, with 2.75 million passenger journeys a year.

2002 rebuilding

By the 1990s, the station's capacity was exceeded on a daily basis, and the 1967 design was deemed inadequate. Between 1999 and 2002, a major rebuilding project took place, branded as "Leeds 1st". This project saw the construction of additional approach tracks at the western end of the station, improving efficiency by separating trains travelling to or from different destinations and preventing them from having to cross each other's routes. The station was expanded from 12 to 17 platforms, with the construction of new platforms on the south side, and reopening of the now-disused parcels depot to passengers on the north side. The majority of the track, points and signals were also replaced. The most visible change to passengers, however, was the replacement of the 1967 metal canopy with a new glass roof, considerably increasing the amount of daylight on the platforms. A new footbridge was also provided, replacing the previous underpass. Ancillary improvements include a new multi-storey car park and station entrance, refurbishing the North Concourse and expanding retail facilities.

A small temporary station called Leeds Whitehall was provided to handle some services while the station was being remodelled. This has now been demolished.

Platform usage obviously varies depending on operational circumstances but is currently:
* 1-6 - Bays mostly used by MetroTrain services operated by Northern Rail, although some National Express East Coast (NXEC) and other Northern services start and finish there. NXEC services between Skipton or Bradford Forster Square and London often reverse at these platforms.
* 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16 - through platforms. In general, NXEC services that don't terminate or reverse at Platform 6 use Platform 8. CrossCountry services heading North to York and beyond tend to depart from Platform 9 or 11; those heading South often use 12. Platforms 15 and 16 tend to be used by North/East and South/Westbound Transpennine Express services respectively.
* 7, 14 - Bays generally used for local Northern services running North/East from Leeds.
* 10, 13, 17 - Bays generally used for local Northern services running South/West from Leeds. Transpennine use 17 for services to Huddersfield, Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street.

2008 Work

In 2008 work started on the ticket control at Leeds station. In place of the human controlled ticket checking Leeds are introducing walk through automated ticket turnstiles in order to speed up the throughput of passengers. The work is expected to be completed by October 2008.

Future plans

Proposals are being put forward to develop a new southern entrance to the station to allow for easier access to the station from the south. The new entrance will enable passengers to access Platforms 16 and 17 from Granary Wharf.


The station is served by a number of train operators, including National Express East Coast, CrossCountry, TransPennine Express, Northern Rail and East Midlands Trains. It is also the hub of the MetroTrain network in West Yorkshire, being the terminus of the following lines:
* The Leeds branch of the East Coast Main Line
* Midland Main Line
* Airedale Line
* Caldervale Line
* Hallam Line
* Harrogate Line
* Huddersfield Line
* Pontefract Line
* Wakefield Line
* Wharfedale Line
* York & Selby Lines


External links

* [http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/879.aspx Station information] on Leeds railway station from Network Rail

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