£161m upgrade works completed at railway hub

A major programme of upgrade work at Leeds Railway Station is now complete.

The works were finalised by engineers working round the clock over the New Year break.

Enhancements include the lengthening of platforms, creation of a new Platform 0 and a new concourse delivered, ensuring passengers experience a more modern station with better connections, longer trains and more seats and services.

Improvements to tracks are designed to significantly boost the reliability and punctuality of services entering the station.

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Expanding and improving the rail network will be key to reducing carbon emissions and helping cities to thrive.

“The upgrades at Leeds station will enable more people to travel by rail and make journeys more reliable, an important step towards a greener transport future.”

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is an important milestone in our continued ambitions to modernise Leeds’ rail connections to make them fit to support what is one of the fastest-growing economies with the busiest railway station in the north of the UK.

“These upgrades will improve the passenger experience and are a first step towards beginning to address our capacity issues at Leeds station.

“We will work with the Government to secure a robust strategy for ongoing enhancements to improve connectivity for Leeds that will benefit Yorkshire, the North and the UK.”

Rail Minister Wendy Morton visited Leeds Station today – 4 January – to see the finished upgrade works.

She added: “Leeds Station is a major hub right at the heart of the North, not only a gateway to one of the UK’s most vibrant and lively cities but a vital transport link enabling people from all over the country to travel for work, pleasure and connect with friends and family.

“These upgrades are a huge milestone making these journeys even easier, providing passengers with more seats, more services and more punctual journeys all while building upon our unprecedented Integrated Rail Plan – delivering a modern, fully connected transport hub fit for the future quicker than under previous plans.”

The Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) includes full electrification to York, and of the Calder Valley line between Bradford and Leeds, cutting journey times to as little as 12 minutes.

The Government says its plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail will see services reaching Manchester from Leeds in 33 minutes, a saving of 22 minutes compared to today, while passengers will reach Birmingham 29 minutes faster than at present.