Leeds railway station (also known as Leeds City railway station) is the mainline railway station serving the city centre of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It is the third busiest railway station in the UK outside London (as of 2016). It is located on New Station Street to the south of City Square, at the bottom of Park Row, behind the landmark Queens Hotel. The railways arrived in Leeds in 1834 when the Leeds and Selby Railway (which became part of the North Eastern Railway) opened its line. It had a terminus at Marsh Lane east of the city centre. In 1840, the North Midland Railway (a constituent of the Midland Railway) constructed its line from Derby via Rotherham to a terminus at Hunslet Lane to the south. It was extended to a more centrally-located terminus at Wellington Street in 1846, known as Wellington Station. Another railway station, Leeds Central (on Wellington Street), was opened in 1854 by the Manchester and Leeds Railway and the London and North Western Railway, or LNWR. The railway station became owned jointly by the LNWR and the North Eastern Railway, but other companies had powers to run trains there, including the Great Northern Railway and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
In 1869 New Station opened as a joint enterprise by the LNWR and the North Eastern Railway. It connected the former Leeds and Selby Railway Line to the east with the LNWR lines to the west. A mile-long connection was built, carried entirely on viaducts and bridges. New Station was built partially on a bridge over the River Aire adjacent to Wellington railway station. The first rationalisation occurred in 1938, when two railway stations (New and Wellington) were combined to form Leeds City Station, opening on 2 May that year. This was designed by LMS architect William Henry Hamlyn. The third railway station, Leeds Central, was unaffected by the change. Part of Wellington railway station later became a parcels depot. The north concourse and the Queens Hotel were built at this time.
In 1962 British Railways House, now City House, was added to the railway station. It was designed by architect John Poulson providing British Railways with administrative buildings. The building became dated and hard to let before refurbishment in 2009. The building was lambasted in 1967 by poet John Betjeman who said it blocked all the light out of City Square, and was a testament to money with no architectural merit. In 2010 the building was bought by property company Bruntwood which is (as of 2017) redeveloping it to provide serviced offices, with a new look to the façade. In 1967 further remodelling of the site took place and trains using Central Railway Station were diverted into the City Railway Station which became the main railway station serving the city. Central Railway Station was closed and has been demolished. The viaduct leading to Central Railway Station is one of many disused viaducts near Leeds Railway Station. Engineering work included replacing 100-year-old bridges over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the construction of the south concourse & an overall roof, along with major platform and track layout alterations and the commissioning of a new power signal box to control the railway station area.
The railway station is situated on a hill falling from the south of the city to the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal basin. Much of it is supported on Victorian brick-vaulted arches situated just off Neville Street which contain a centre consisting of cafés, restaurants, shops and exhibition spaces called Granary Wharf, known locally as the Dark Arches. The railway station has 17 platforms, making it the largest by number of platforms in England outside London. There are 11 terminus and six through platforms. Most platforms are subdivided into up to four sections, i.e. 1a, 1b, 1c etc. All together including the numbers, there are 47 platforms. Retail facilities in the station include coffee shops, fast food outlets, a bar, newsagents, chemists, and supermarkets. A British Transport Police station on New Station Street houses officers who police the West Yorkshire railway stations. Leeds railway station retained manned ticket barriers through the 1990s until 2008 when they were replaced by automatic barriers by Northern to improve congestion around the barriers at peak times.
Platform usage varies depending on operational circumstances but is generally: 1–5 – Bay platforms mostly used by MetroTrain services operated by Northern; 6, 8 – 6 is a Bay Platform used for terminating Virgin Trains East Coast services from London, 8 is a through platform used for Virgin Trains East Coast services which both terminate and continue onward to Bradford, Harrogate and Skipton, as well as the early morning EC departure to Aberdeen. 9, 11, 12, 15, 16 – through platforms. CrossCountry services heading north to York and beyond depart from Platforms 9 or 11; services heading south use platform 12. Platforms 15 and 16 are used by north/east and south/westbound TransPennine Express services to Hull, Newcastle, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough and Huddersfield, Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street. 7, 14 – Bay platforms used for local Northern services running north/east from Leeds. 10, 13, 17 – Bay platforms used for local and regional services running south/west to Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield, alongside southbound services towards Wakefield, Barnsley, Meadowhall, Sheffield and Nottingham.
A £17.3 million southern entrance to allow for easier access from the south completed on 3 January 2016. It widens the railway station's western footbridge and provide escalators, stairs and lifts to a partial deck over the River Aire in an iconic structure. The deck provides access to either side of the river for passengers to access Granary Wharf and Little Neville Street or Holbeck. It contains extra ticket vending machines and cycle storage. Around 20% of passengers are expected to use the new entrance. Plans are being drawn up to expand the railway station's capacity with new lines and platforms alongside platform one in the Riverside Car Park on the site of the original Leeds Wellington railway station to cater for predicted growth. Also Metro announced plans to replace platforms 1A, 1B and 1C with three separate platforms using the car park next to the platform 1's. This would increase platform numbers from 17 to 19. Network Rail plans to improve the south concourse by opening up the skylights to allow in natural light. The first phase of works will aim to reduce congestion. Consideration will be given to a mezzanine level for retail units. Network Rail has said that it "is looking at the feasibility of the provision of a new roof to the concourse. The latter scheme is one that will be taken forward in conjunction with Bruntwood" in connection with the redevelopment of City House.
The original plans for HS2 proposed a separate new station in Leeds to the south of the River Aire at New Lane. However, a later review in November 2015 instead recommends that HS2 platforms be added to the existing station. These would attach to the southern part of the existing station building, and span the river in a North-South alignment to create a 'T' shape. Whilst not directly linking the rail lines, it will allow a common concourse for easy interchange between high speed and classic rail services. These plans were approved by the Government in November 2016.
Leeds Interchange, located at the New Station Street exit, provides onward transport connections from the station. There are five bus stands serving Arriva, First and Yorkshire Tiger routes 4, 5, 16, 16A, 19, 19A, 40, 85, 87, 90, 757, 870 and DalesBus services. A 24-hour taxi rank also operates at the interchange. Further bus stops are located on Neville Street below the railway station, as well as around City Square outside the railway station. Infirmary Street and Boar Lane Bus Points are a short walk for more bus connections. Leeds Interchange hosts one of the UK's first cycle hubs that allows a number of cycling services including repair, storage and rental. The facility opened in summer 2010 and is designed to encourage visitors and commuters into Leeds to continue their journey from the railway station by bike. Its design is based on the Dutch cyclepoint concept.
Local Taxis from Leeds Interchange
Connections: There are five bus stands serving Arriva, First and Yorkshire Tiger routes 4, 5, 16, 16A, 19, 19A, 40, 85, 87, 90, 757, 870 and DalesBus services. Live Next Bus.