Harrogate line

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Harrogate line
Arthington Viaduct (161504105).jpeg
OwnerNetwork Rail
LocaleWest Yorkshire
North Yorkshire
TypeHeavy rail
SystemNational Rail
London North Eastern Railway
Depot(s)Neville Hill
Rolling stockClass 150 Sprinter
Class 155 Super Sprinter
Class 158 Express Sprinter
Class 170 Turbostar
Class 800 Azuma
Line length39-mile (62 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map
Harrogate line.png
(Click to expand)

The Harrogate line is a passenger rail line through parts of North Yorkshire and the West Yorkshire area of northern England connecting Leeds to York by way of Harrogate and Knaresborough. Service on the line is operated by Northern, with a few additional workings by London North Eastern Railway starting and terminating at Harrogate. West Yorkshire Metro's bus and rail MetroCard ticket is available for journeys between Leeds and Harrogate.[1]



The routes over which the Harrogate line trains now run were opened in 1848 by two of the railways which came to be part of the North Eastern Railway: the Leeds Northern Railway and the East and West Yorkshire Junction Railway. At the time of the 1923 Grouping the Harrogate area formed the junction for five routes: the main line was that of the Leeds-Northallerton railway; the other lines were to:

The Leeds station at the time was Leeds Central station, jointly owned by the NER and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

The line terminated in Harrogate at the Brunswick station which was opened in 1848 but closed in 1862 when a new and more central station was opened.


Schematic diagram of the Harrogate line including closed stations and branch lines

The 39-mile (62 km) line is composed of all or part of the following Network Rail routes:

  • LNE 9 from Leeds to Leeds West Junction
  • LNE 6A from Leeds West Junction
LNE 6A M–Ch km
Leeds West Junction 0–00 0.00
Whitehall Junction 0–25 0.50
Headingley 2–67 4.55
Horsforth 5–37 8.80
Weeton 11–38 18.45
Pannal 14–59 23.70
Harrogate 18–00 28.95
  • LNE 6 from Harrogate
LNE 6 M–Ch km
Harrogate 0–00 0.00
Starbeck 2–11 3.45
Knaresborough 3–64 6.10
Cattal 10–18 16.45
Hammerton 11–57 18.85
Poppleton 17–34 28.05
Skelton Junction 18–68 30.35
  • LNE 2 from Skelton Junction to York

Stations and features[edit]

Currently open stations are shown in bold font.

  • Leeds is a major transport hub where several long-distance and commuter lines meet. Trains scheduled to operate via Harrogate to York are shown with the destination of "Poppleton via Harrogate" because the Leeds-York journey via this route takes 40 minutes longer than on the route of the York and Selby Lines via Garforth.
  • Royal Gardens, only a short distance from Burley Park, was closed in 1858.
  • Cardigan Road Goods station is closed and now the site of a builders yard.
  • Burley Park opened in 1988 making it the newest station on the line
  • Headingley near Kirkstall Lane (B6157 road) is the closest station to the Kirkstall Lane end of Headingley Stadium.
  • Horsforth Woodside was located near Leeds Outer Ring Road, today's A6120, and closed in 1864. Opening of a new station here has been discussed on several occasions.[2][3]
  • Horsforth is physically the closest railway station to Leeds & Bradford Airport, though no direct public transport link currently exists between Horsforth station and the Airport terminal. The closest railway station with a bus link is Guiseley on the busier electrified Wharfedale Line.
South portal of the Bramhope Tunnel

Special services[edit]

In addition to the regular services on the Harrogate line, there is occasionally an increased service which runs prior to and after a major event on at Headingley Stadium such as an international cricket test match. The services run between Leeds and Horsforth stations to cater for a large usage at Headingley and Burley Park railway stations, and tickets are sold by Revenue Protection staff at the entrances to the platforms. This is to reduce the queue for tickets at Leeds station. Extra services have also been run on the Harrogate line for the Great Yorkshire Show.[8]

On weekdays a daily morning direct service to London King's Cross operates via Leeds. On 20 January 2011 the Government owned East Coast Franchise Operator (East Coast Trains) announced that following strong local representations an evening return service is to be reinstated, providing a direct train from London to Harrogate 7 days a week from May 2011.[9]

In July 2014, the Tour de France Grand Depart 2014 was held in Yorkshire with stage 1 from Leeds to Harrogate and thousands of spectators were expected. Extra trains were operated in this occasion. In addition to the local trains which were run at increased capacity,[10][11] two locomotive hauled services ran between Leeds and Harrogate during the day. Passengers wishing to travel between the depart at Leeds and first day finishing at Harrogate were required to wait separately outside Leeds station rather than proceed through the barriers, given the limited capacity through the station.


Class 170 at Burley Park station, 2019

The route is served by Northern Trains rolling stock; the most common seen on the line is the Class 170 Turbostar, and Class 158s sometimes make appearances on the line as well. London North Eastern Railway services use the Class 800 Azuma.[12][13]


In July 2011, Harrogate Chamber of Commerce proposed electrifying the line with 750 V DC third rail, using D Stock of the London Underground, to substantially increase capacity.[14] The D stock's replacement by S Stock on the District line in 2015 has made them available for other locations. It is proposed that the stock will be converted to use the bottom-contact third rail system.[15] The scheme never gained support from Metro, Northern Rail or National Rail, generally overhead electrification is favoured and is the only method used in the region. Furthermore, the D stock is older than current stock using the line and runs on a fourth rail system.

Several new stations have also been proposed, including at Flaxby and Knaresborough East. In November 2013 Rail Magazine reported on plans for the line to be electrified at 25 kV AC overhead power lines which could be in use by 2019. This would mean that there would be two electric lines to York from Leeds, the other being Leeds to York via Cross Gates which will soon be electrified.

On 5 March 2015, the Harrogate line, amongst others in the area including the Leeds–Bradford Interchange–Halifax line, the Selby–Hull line and the Northallerton–Middlesbrough line were named top priority for electrification; with an estimated cost for the Harrogate line of £93 million with a projected cost-benefit ratio of 1/3.60. No date has been set however.[16]

From December 2017, additional services on Sundays began with an extra hourly service from Leeds to Knaresborough during the day. This means trains between Knaresborough/Harrogate and Leeds are now every 30 minutes during the daytime on Sundays. Funding has been secured for signalling and infrastructure upgrades on the section of line between Knaresborough and York. This will allow an enhanced passenger service of two trains per hour. However, the proposal to re-open Goldsborough railway station to serve a new housing estate, would jeopardise reliable timings on the train service.[17] The £13 million scheme will be carried out over the summer and autumn of 2020 with improved signalling. This will allow two services an hour between York, Knaresborough and Harrogate.[18]

In December 2019, London North Eastern Railway (LNER), intend to increase their one train a day, between Harrogate and London King's Cross, to six trains each way per day, including weekends.[19] The service will be suitable for an increase in service pattern due to LNER using its bi-mode class 800 Azuma trains that would have previously terminated at Leeds. A siding at the northern end of Harrogate station has been brought back into use to enable the trains to reverse direction.[20]

Since 1 March 2020 services have been directly operated by the Department for Transport (DfT) under the brand name Northern Trains, with an objective of "stabilising performance and restoring reliability for passengers".[21]

The Ripon railway[edit]

The city was previously served by Ripon railway station on the Leeds–Northallerton line that ran between Leeds and Northallerton.[22] It was once part of the North Eastern Railway and then LNER.

The Ripon line was closed to passengers on 6 March 1967 and to freight on 5 September 1969 as part of the wider Beeching Axe, despite a vigorous campaign by local campaigners, including the city's MP.[22] Today much of the route of the line through the city is now a relief road and although the former station still stands, it is now surrounded by a new housing development. The issue remains a significant one in local politics and there are movements wanting to restore the line.[22] Reports suggest the reopening of a line between Ripon and Harrogate railway station would be economically viable, costing £40 million and could initially attract 1,200 passengers a day, rising to 2,700.[22][23][24] Campaigners call on MPs to restore Ripon railway link.[25]

In North Yorkshire County Council's 'A Strategic Transport Prospectus for North Yorkshire', they propose to build an entirely new railway between Leeds, Harrogate and Ripon which would have a junction with the East Coast Main Line north of Northallerton station. This would enable 125 mph (201 km/h) running, reduce journey times and provide an alternative route when the current Leeds to York to Northallerton section is closed.[26]


  1. ^ "Zone 6 and 7 rail tickets - Metro". Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Back on track after Beeching". Yorkshire Evening Post. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Call for more car parking at Leeds station". Yorkshire Evening Post. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Rail update from Arthington Station Action Group". pool in wharfedale news. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  5. ^ Jack, Jim (23 September 2010). "Full steam ahead for new station". Wharfedale Observer. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. ^ Catford, Nick (17 May 2017). "Crimple". disused-stations.co.uk. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Aerial View".
  8. ^ "By Train". Great Yorkshire Show. 2011. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Harrogate – London East Coast Services" (PDF). Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Extra trains laid on for Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire". BBC News. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Additional train services for Tour de France in Yorkshire". BBC News. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  12. ^ "New fleet of trains roll on to Harrogate line" Yorkshire Post issue 759 15 October 2014 page 8
  13. ^ Beard, Alexander (21 May 2018). "New fleet of trains roll on to Harrogate line". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Harrogate Line News 1 – 1st Meeting supports bid" (PDF). Harrogate Chamber of Commerce. 12 August 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Harrogate reacts to rail electrification news". Harrogate Advertiser. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  17. ^ Leeming, Lachlan (8 March 2019). "New train station would "jeopardise" improved service between York and Knaresborough, councillor says". The Harrogate Advertiser. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  18. ^ Webster, Jacob (29 April 2020). "Train services to Harrogate set to double". York Press. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  19. ^ Chalmers, Graham (17 May 2019). "New Harrogate-London rail times revealed". Harrogate Advertiser. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  20. ^ Abbott, James (April 2019). "LNER modernisation gathers pace". Modern Railways. Vol. 76, no. 847. Stamford: Key Publishing. p. 54. ISSN 0026-8356.
  21. ^ "Rail firm Northern to be put into public ownership". BBC News. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  22. ^ a b c d "Reopening line makes economic sense, says study". Northern Echo. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  23. ^ "Backing for restoring rail link". BBC News Online. BBC. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Reopening of 11-mile Harrogate-Ripon rail link takes a step nearer". Yorkshire Evening Post. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Campaigners call on MPs to restore Ripon railway link". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  26. ^ Broadbent, Steve (11 November 2015). "Council Proposes Leeds to Northallerton Railway". Rail Magazine. No. 787. p. 18.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°59′38″N 1°32′16″W / 53.99382°N 1.5377°W / 53.99382; -1.5377