Wakefield Westgate railway station

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Wakefield Westgate
National Rail
Wakefield Westgate station with Voyager (geograph 5022098).jpg
A CrossCountry train at Wakefield Westgate
LocationWakefield, City of Wakefield
Coordinates53°40′55″N 1°30′20″W / 53.6820°N 1.5055°W / 53.6820; -1.5055Coordinates: 53°40′55″N 1°30′20″W / 53.6820°N 1.5055°W / 53.6820; -1.5055
Grid referenceSE327207
Managed byLondon North Eastern Railway
Transit authorityWest Yorkshire (Metro)
Other information
Station codeWKF
Fare zone3
ClassificationDfT category B
Key dates
2015/16Increase 2.519 million
2016/17Increase 2.541 million
2017/18Decrease 2.477 million
2018/19Decrease 2.473 million
2019/20Decrease 2.407 million
 Interchange  98,415
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Wakefield Westgate railway station is a mainline railway station in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. It is 10 miles (16 km) south of Leeds to the west of the city centre, on the Wakefield Line and Leeds branch of the East Coast Main Line.

The first Westgate station opened in 1856 a few years after the town's first station, Wakefield Kirkgate. In 1867, the station was rebuilt on the opposite side of Westgate on the main line between Leeds and Doncaster. British Rail modernised the station in 1967 when large parts of the 19th-century station were demolished and replaced with austere but functional facilities. By the 21st century, there was pressure to modernise the station and between 2009 and 2013 the station was rebuilt and modernised as a result of regeneration efforts focused upon the wider area. On 3 February 2014, the rebuilt station was officially opened.


Early history[edit]

Entrance to the 1867 station near the bridge on Westgate

During 1856, shortly after the spur line from Wakefield's first station, Wakefield Kirkgate was built, the first Westgate station opened.[1] Its southern side was built for the Bradford, Wakefield and Leeds Railway (GNR) on part of the private estate belonging to wealthy cloth merchant John Milnes and his mid-18th century mansion was partially demolished and its remains were incorporated into the station.[2]

The station was used for ten years before further developments necessitated its demolition and rebuilding. No traces remain of the original station as the site was levelled and premises for Wakefield School were built on the site. The school has since been demolished.[2]

A new station opened on the opposite side of Westgate in 1867. It was constructed for the GNR, the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways on the main line from Leeds to Doncaster which approached Westgate from the north on an embankment before passing through the station and over the bridge in Westgate which is at the start of a 95-arch viaduct. The station was designed by Leeds engineer, J.B. Fraser.[2] Built at a cost of £60,000, it was described by a local newspaper as "one of the most perfect stations in England – special care in designing the works having been taken…in order that every facility might be given for the easy and expeditious working of the goods and passenger traffic".[1] A prominent feature was a turreted tower, which, as a result of lobbying by the Wakefield Tradesmen's Association, was converted into a four-faced clock tower in June 1880. The clock's mechanism was designed by the horologist and lawyer Sir Edmund Beckett and made by Potts of Leeds.

Starting in 1967, British Rail embarked on an extensive rebuild of the second station, resulting in the removal of the clock tower and most of the station buildings.[2][3] The station's decorative and elegant frontage and pavilion roof were demolished and replaced with an austere counterpart. The rebuilt station was "aesthetically inferior to its earlier incarnation, soon proved to be too cramped to cope with a rise in passenger numbers". It was poorly laid out with few opportunities for retail and other services.[1] Infilling the station forecourt to the level of the first-storey platform provided direct access to the Up platform level but there was no level access to the Down platform except via a barrow crossing.[1]

Westgate became the main station serving Wakefield because of its location on the main line from Leeds to London. Until the mid-1960s, it had regular services to Bradford Exchange via Batley and Ossett and via Morley Top[4] and also to Castleford via the Methley Joint Railway, but these services fell victim to the Beeching cuts between 1964 and 1966.


Improvements to Westgate Station were constrained by a lack of funding.[1] In early 2007 Network Rail announced that a £1.4 million redevelopment scheme was planned for the station to take place by the end of 2009.[5] The scheme was a part of the Westgate Key Development Area authorised by Wakefield Council.[6] The scheme involved constructing offices, leisure, small-scale retail, hotel, restaurants and housing on the site of an old dairy and disused railway goods yards. In 2009, work on the Merchant Gate development commenced and work on the first phase was completed by September 2010.[7][8]

Four years later, Westgate Station was rebuilt at the northern end of the platforms and the former overflow car park.[1] Key aims of the project were nearly doubling station's retail facilities, an improved forecourt area, station management centre, staff offices, a customer information point, a first class waiting room and standard class waiting facilities and the installation of new passenger information technologies and automated ticket barriers to reduce fare evasion.[1] Better pedestrian access to the multi-storey car park and taxi ranks were provided.[1]

The concourse

Few elements of the modernisation programme interfered with the operational railway except for the installation of additional canopies and the replacement footbridge. The old footbridge and some 1960's station buildings were removed.[1] Wakefield Westgate was the first newly built station on the East Coast Main Line in decades. The programme was an element of the third phase of Merchant Gate redevelopment scheme and promoted by its backers as being a key part of the area's renewal.[9] Network Rail was appointed by East Coast as the principal contractor for the programme and the Buckingham Group was the design-and-build subcontractor.[1][10]

In January 2013, after planning permission was granted onsite preparations began[1] and in March rebuilding commenced at a cost of £8.8 million, a large portion was provided via the Station Commercial Project Facility (SCPF), and 1 million each from the Access for All programme and the English Cities Fund.[1] On 23 December 2013, the station opened to service and on 3 February 2014, it was officially opened by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin and blessed by the Bishop of Wakefield, Stephen Platten.[9][11]



Wakefield Westgate railway station
To Outwood & Leeds
To Wakefield Kirkgate
To Sandal & Aggbrigg,
Sheffield & Doncaster

In total, there are 6 tph to Leeds with additional peak services. All northbound services call at Leeds.

The station is managed by London North Eastern Railway, whose services run south from platform 1 to Doncaster and stations to London King's Cross and north from platform 2 to Leeds. A half-hourly weekday service from Wakefield to London takes approximately just over 2 hours for the 175 miles (282 km) journey.[12][1]

CrossCountry operate train services north to Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow and services south to Birmingham New Street, Exeter and the South West of England.[13] These call every hour with some additional peak services.

Northern Trains operate stopping services between Leeds and Doncaster, calling every hour on weekdays and Saturdays. An hourly stopping service also operates from Sheffield to Leeds via Rotherham. Introduced at the May 2018 Timetable change, there is now another hourly service to Leeds. This train originates at Knottingley and runs via Pontefract Monkhill and Wakefield Kirkgate. This gives a 3tph Northern Trains service to Leeds (of which, 2tph call at Outwood).[14]

East Midlands Railway services from Leeds to London St Pancras via Derby or Nottingham call at Westgate. They are three early morning departures from Leeds and up to four late afternoon/evening return trips from St Pancras.[15] This is because the maintenance depot for former Midland Mainline HST power cars is the Maintrain depot at Neville Hill in Leeds. This provides a limited but useful service between West Yorkshire and the East Midlands. The former operator Midland Mainline had plans for a regular service between St Pancras and Leeds via the Erewash Valley and Leicester but these ambitions were ultimately rejected by the Strategic Rail Authority.[citation needed]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Limited service
London North Eastern Railway
London - Leeds
East Midlands Railway
Midland Main Line
Limited service
Northern Trains
Pontefract line
Northern Trains
  Future services  
Leeds   Northern Connect
Bradford Interchange - Nottingham


The station is staffed and has an information kiosk, ticket office and self-service ticket machines, refreshments and a newsagent. Outside is a taxi rank, a cashpoint and a bus stop. Train running information is via digital display screens, timetable posters and automatic announcements. Lifts and a footbridge connect the platforms, so step-free access is available throughout the station.[16]


Between 1988 and 2009, a modern art sculpture, titled 'A Light Wave', created by the Leeds-based artist Charles Quick, was located on the wall behind the old bay platform on the northbound side of the station. The installation comprised a series of wooden planks laid up against a wall, in the form of waves, and illuminated from behind by a succession of lamps.[17] The sculpture gradually fell into a state of disrepair, which prompted its removal.

Wakefield Westgate appeared in the TV series A Touch of Frost as Denton Station.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Wakefield Kirkgate railway station


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bickerdike, Graeme. "Keeping up appearances." Rail Engineer, 8 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Wakefield's Westgate Stations" (pdf). Wakefield Historical Society. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Wakefield Westgate, West Yorkshire." heritagecalling.com, 15 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Ardsley to Laisterdyke & Dudley Hill to Low Moor, 1857 - 1966, Great Northern RailwayLost Railways - West Yorkshire; Retrieved 9 March 2020
  5. ^ "£2.4 Billion Rail Expansion Programme Unveiled". Network Rail. 3 April 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Westgate Key Development Area". Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Regenerating Britain’s railway stations: six case studies." Rail Delivery Group, June 2017.
  8. ^ "Merchant Gate, Wakefield." Muse Developments, Retrieved: 7 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Government minister opens new £8m Wakefield rail station." Yorkshire Evening Post, 4 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Network Rail award the £6million Wakefield Westgate “Gateway” Station to Buckingham ." Buckingham Group, 1 March 2013.
  11. ^ ""We are spending a lot of money on stations," says Transport Secretary." ITV, 3 February 2014.
  12. ^ GB eNRT 2019-20 Edition, Table 26.
  13. ^ Table 51 National Rail timetable, December 2019
  14. ^ Table 31 and 32 National Rail timetable, December 2019
  15. ^ GB eNRT, Table 53
  16. ^ Wakfield Westgate station facilities National Rail Enquiries; Retrieved 24 January 2017
  17. ^ "Bradford Sculpture Trail - Art - lap Light - Little Germany". Retrieved 3 April 2007.

External links[edit]