Harrogate railway station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Harrogate National Rail
Harrogate railway station and office block (25th February 2013).JPG
The station in 2013
Place Harrogate
Local authority Harrogate
Coordinates 53°59′36″N 1°32′15″W / 53.9933°N 1.5374°W / 53.9933; -1.5374Coordinates: 53°59′36″N 1°32′15″W / 53.9933°N 1.5374°W / 53.9933; -1.5374
Grid reference SE304553
Station code HGT
Managed by Northern
Number of platforms 2
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 1.294 million
2011/12 Increase 1.372 million
2012/13 Decrease 1.361 million
2013/14 Increase 1.442 million
2014/15 Increase 1.585 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE West Yorkshire (Metro)
Zone 6
Key dates Opened 1 August 1862 (1 August 1862)
Original company North Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Harrogate from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Railways in Harrogate
to Northallerton via Ripon
closed to passengers 1967
Hornbeam Park
opened 1992
to York
Crimple Viaduct
Line to Church Fenton
closed to passengers 1964
to Leeds

Harrogate railway station serves the town centre of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England. It is located on the Harrogate Line 18.25 miles (29 km) north of Leeds railway station. Northern operate the station and provide nearly all passenger train services except a daily Virgin Trains East Coast service to and from London Kings Cross.


The station was opened for traffic by the North Eastern Railway on 1 August 1862 to designs by the architect Thomas Prosser. The new station was the first building in Harrogate built of brick, had two platforms and was built as part of the NER's plans to improve services to the town. Prior to its opening (and the associated approach lines), the town's rail routes had been somewhat fragmented - the York and North Midland Railway branch line from Church Fenton via Tadcaster had a terminus in the town (see below), but the Leeds Northern Railway main line between Leeds & Thirsk bypassed it to the east to avoid the need for costly engineering work to cross the Crimple Valley and the East and West Yorkshire Junction Railway from York terminated short at Starbeck. Once all of the individual companies had become part of the NER, the company was able to put plans in motion to concentrate all lines at a new single depot.

A storm in November 1866 caused a chimney stack to fall through the roof of the station causing considerable damage.[1] In 1873, a footbridge was added.

The booking office was the subject of a robbery on 7 December 1868 when thieves drilled through the ticket window covering with a bit and brace, and stole a small amount of cash.[2]

The capacity was increased in 1883 when it was lengthened by 100 yards,[3] largely as a result of the opening of a second route to Leeds via Wetherby (the Cross Gates to Wetherby Line) in 1876.

In 1892, the well known actor, Harry Fischer, was shot at by Violet Gordon at the station.[4] She missed however, and was arrested by the police.

The station was largely demolished in 1964/65 and replaced with a more utilitarian one by Taylor Bown and Miller, Architects (Harrogate). This coincided with the loss of three of the main routes through the town thanks to the Beeching Axe - both routes via Wetherby closing to passenger traffic on 6 January 1964 and the Leeds Northern route to Northallerton via Ripon on 6 March 1967.[5] The York branch had also been included in Beeching's 1963 report, but it was reprieved in 1966 and remains open to this day.


There is a staffed ticket office open seven days a week. Also at the station are also a newsagent, key cutters, ATMs, photo booths and a waiting room. All of the facilities are located on the main concourse on Platform 1. There are 3 platforms, but only platforms 1 and 3 are used regularly because the bay platform 2 faces in the direction of Knaresborough and York, and no train to either destination originates from Harrogate in the present timetable.


The Monday to Saturday daytime service is generally a half-hourly to Leeds (southbound) calling at all stations and to Knaresborough (eastbound) on the Harrogate Line with an hourly service onwards to York also calling at all stations en route.[6]

Services double in frequency at peak time to Leeds, resulting in 4tph (trains per hour) with 1tph running fast to Horsforth. There are 4tph in the opposite direction between 16:29 and 18:00 from Leeds with one running fast from Horsforth to Harrogate.

Evenings and Sundays there is generally an hourly service from Leeds through Harrogate towards Knaresborough and York (some early morning trains to Leeds start from here and terminate here from Leeds in the late evening).

Virgin Trains East Coast operates a daily morning service starting in Harrogate to London King's Cross, with an evening return.[7]

There are proposals to create another station between Harrogate and Starbeck at Bilton, whilst the new Northern franchise operator Arriva Rail North plans to improve service frequencies towards Leeds to 4tph from 7am to 7pm once the new franchise agreement starts in April 2016.[8]

Most trains are operated by Class 150 DMUs, although Class 155 units are also fairly common, as are Class 142 & 144 'Pacer' railbuses and Class 153 single units. Occasionally Class 158 units are used at peak times. The London service is operated using a High Speed Train.

Harrogate (Brunswick) station[edit]

Plaque marking the site of Harrogate Brunswick Railway Station

Harrogate's first railway station, Brunswick, was the end of the branch line of the York and North Midland Railway and the first train arrived at Brunswick Station on 20 July 1848. This station was situated on the site where Trinity Church now stands, close to the Prince of Wales roundabout and some distance from either High or Low Harrogate.[9] When the new line of the North Eastern Railway entered Harrogate via a cutting through The Stray, Brunswick was closed and the first train into the town centre station was on 1 August 1862.

Harrogate station's platforms and tracks, seen from the pedestrian overbridge.

Ripon Railway[edit]

The city was previously served by a railway station on the Leeds-Northallerton line that ran between Leeds and Northallerton via Harrogate and Ripon.[10] It was once part of the North Eastern Railway and then LNER. The site is now occupied by Starbeck railway station.[11]

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.[10] 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.[10] 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.[10][12][13] Campaigners call on MPs to restore Ripon railway link.[14]

A61 Station Parade, Harrogate


  1. ^ Kendal Mercury - Saturday 10 November 1866
  2. ^ Leeds Times - Saturday 12 December 1868
  3. ^ The Building news and engineering journal: Volume 44, 1883
  4. ^ Morpeth Herald - Saturday 30 July 1892
  5. ^ Body, G. (1988), PSL Field Guides - Railways of the Eastern Region Volume 2, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Wellingborough, ISBN 1-85260-072-1 , p.136
  6. ^ GB National Rail Timetable May 2016, Table 35
  7. ^ Table 26 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  8. ^ Northern Franchise Improvements - DfT
  9. ^ Bilton Historical Society, accessed 18 September 2007
  10. ^ a b c d "Reopening line makes economic sense, says study". NorthernEcho.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  11. ^ Cobb, M H (2003). The Railways of Great Britain - a historical atlas. p. 411. ISBN 0711030030. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "Backing for restoring rail link". BBC News Online (BBC). 11 May 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Railway plan may be back on track". ThisIsTheNorthEast.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  14. ^ "Campaigners call on MPs to restore Ripon railway link". The Yorkshire Post. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Leeds   Virgin Trains East Coast
East Coast Main Line
(Limited Service, northbound only)
Terminus   Virgin Trains East Coast
East Coast Main Line
(Limited service, southbound only)
Hornbeam Park   Northern
Harrogate Line