Yorkshire and the Humber
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The line was opened by the Leeds Northern Railway, in the 1850s.
The Leeds and Thirsk Railway via Starbeck opened on 9 July 1848. In 1852 as the Leeds Northern Railway the extension to Northallerton and Stockton opened. The line then became part of the North Eastern Railway in the 1854 amalgamation. All three stations at Leeds (Central, Wellington and New) were used at various times.
The line north of Harrogate was closed a few years after the publication of Richard Beeching's The Reshaping of British Railways report. The route was closed to passenger traffic on 6 March 1967, but a limited number of freight trains used the line to Ripon until 1969. It was supposed that closing this stretch of line would have little impact, since passengers travelling north could join the East Coast Main Line at York. The stretch was temporarily re-opened as an emergency diversionary route during the Thirsk rail crash.
The closure of the northern section of the line meant an end to over 100 years of railway service to the city of Ripon.
In 2005, North Yorkshire County Council commissioned Ove Arup to undertake a feasibility study into the possibility of reopening the closed stretch of line between Harrogate and Ripon.
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. 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. 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. Campaigners call on MPs to restore Ripon railway link.
In October 2015, North Yorkshire County Council included the reopening in its Strategic Transport Prospectus which was submitted to Transport for the North. In February 2016 the County Council included it in its Local Transport Plan, but it is accepted that it is unlikely to happen until after 2030.
The Harrogate to Northallerton line has been identified by Campaign for a Better Transport as a priority 1 candidate for reopening. In 2019, the English Regional Transport Association proposed a re-opened railway between Harrogate and Northallerton would cost £40 million and attract 2,700 passengers per day. These figures were based on a single track railway. Network Rail were supportive of the proposal as it affords them an alternative route south from Northallerton.
List of stations
- Leeds Central (closed)
- Holbeck Low Level (closed)
- Royal Gardens[note 1](closed)
- Burley Park opened 1988
- Horsforth Woodside (closed)
- Arthington (closed)
- Hornbeam Park (opened 1992)
- Harrogate: The Harrogate loop was completed in 1862
- Starbeck: The original route via Starbeck opened in 1848
- Nidd Bridge (closed June 1962)
- Wormald Green (closed June 1962)
- Ripon (closed)
- Melmerby (closed)
- Melmerby was a junction with the original line to Baldersby, Topcliffe and Thirsk (closed 1959)
- Melmerby was also the junction for the line to Tanfield and Masham (1875-1931 for passengers -1963 for goods)
- At Melmerby South, there was the junction for a short branch to a Ministry of Supply Ordnance Depot.
- Sinderby (closed 1962)
- Pickhill (closed 1959)
- Newby Wiske (closed 1939)
- The book notes that the station opened in June 1857. The Station Closures webpage of the Lost Railways of West Yorkshire notes that it is last in the timetable in October 1857
- "Reopening of Harrogate to Ripon line feasibility study" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Reopening line makes economic sense, says study". NorthernEcho.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Backing for restoring rail link". BBC News Online. BBC. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- "Reopening of 11-mile Harrogate-Ripon rail link takes a step nearer". Yorkshire Evening Post. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- "Campaigners call on MPs to restore Ripon railway link". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "County Council include reopening of Ripon railway in transport plans". Ripon Gazette. Ripon. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- "Reopened Ripon rail link back on the agenda". Harrogate Advertiser. Harrogate. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- "The case for expanding the rail network" (PDF). Campaign for Better Transport. p. 30. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- Newton, Grace (17 August 2019). "Could the Harrogate to Ripon railway line really re-open?". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Joy, David (1975). "Reference Section". A regional History of the Railways of Great Britain - Volume 8 - South and West Yorkshire. London: David & Charles. p. 242. ISBN 0715377833. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- "Melmerby Ordnance Depot". www.disused-stations.org.uk. Retrieved 8 July 2018.