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Skipton railway station serves the town of Skiptonmarker in North Yorkshire, Englandmarker on the Airedale Line. It is operated by Northern Rail and is situated north-west of Leedsmarker.

The station has four platforms and links Skiptonmarker to Leedsmarker, Bradfordmarker, Carlislemarker and Morecambemarker. It is staffed on a part-time basis and a ticket office is available at most times. Skipton comes under the Dales Railcard. There are four seated waiting rooms available and luggage trolleys, along with a small café, toilets, a post box and a pay-phone. There is a taxi rank situated immediately outside the station, bus links nearby and the car park has spaces for 100 vehicles. The station is located on Broughton Road.

History

As the "Gateway to the Yorkshire Dalesmarker", Skipton historically has had high volumes of leisure traffic.

The original station was opened on 7 September 1847 by the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway, as a temporary terminus of its line from Bradfordmarker. The line was extended to a year later on 2 October 1848.

Initially, passengers would leave the train at Skipton for onward travel to the villages of Wharfedale by horse-drawn coach. There are still over 20 hotels clustered around the station, including the historic Herriots Hotel (formerly the Midland Hotel).

The next year, the "little" North Western Railway opened a line from Skipton to Ingleton on 30 July 1849 (which was eventually extended to Lancastermarker and in 1850).

On 30 April 1876, Skipton station was relocated a quarter of a mile northwest of its original location. By now, both the Leeds and Bradford and North Western railways had been absorbed by the Midland Railway. The new station coincided with the opening of the Midland's Settle-Carlisle Line, which made Skipton a station on the to Glasgowmarker main line. The new station had four platforms and cost over £15,000, compared with the original stations's cost of £2,300. Platform 1 was a bay platform at the Bradford end, adjacent to the station building along with through platform 2, while platforms 3 and 4 formed an island platform.

On 1 October 1888 platforms 5 and 6 were added to serve the Skipton to Ilkley Line, which opened that day. These platforms were at a slightly higher level on a rising gradient, as the new line ran southwest of the existing line and then crossed over it by bridge eastwards. These platforms were also later used by the Yorkshire Dales Railway, a short branch to from 1902 to 1930. Passenger services to Ilkley ceased on 22 March 1965, after which platforms 5 and 6 were closed to passengers and their access subway was bricked off. However, the line through platform 5 is still in use as a single-track freight line to Swinden Quarrymarker via the former Yorkshire Dales line. The track through platform 6 has been lifted.

The line to closed on 2 February 1970 and its tracks have since been lifted. An organisation called SELRAP is campaigning for the re-instatement of the link and runs occasional charter trains between the two stations, using a long diversionary route to point out the eleven mile "missing link."

In the 1970s, the track was removed from platform 1, and platform 4 was used as a siding. However, all four platforms were back in use when the track layout and signalling were updated in 1994 for electrification.

In 1998, the station underwent complete renovation, in preparation for the introduction of direct InterCity services to Londonmarker. In 2004 the station underwent another minor renovation in preparation for a visit by Prince Charles. Following a change of cleaning contract in early 2007, users of the station began to complain about an alleged deterioration in cleanliness at the station, particularly in the waiting rooms.

The station is used for the overnight stabling of trains. On 9 August 2003, an Arriva Trains Northern employee was seriously assaulted by a group of vandals after challenging two males daubing graffiti on a stabled train.

Skipton railway station is currently the terminus of the 280/X80 cross-Pennine bus routes to Preston. It has been proposed as the focus of a park-and-ride scheme serving commuters to Lancastermarker and Leedsmarker.

Services

On Monday to Saturday in the daytime, there is a half-hourly service from Skipton to Leedsmarker and Bradford Forster Squaremarker respectively. In the evening there is a half-hourly service to Leeds and hourly to Bradford. On Sundays, the service is hourly to Leeds and two-hourly to Bradford.

The station is the limit of the Leeds North West electrification, where the electric commuter services from Leeds terminate.

Trains using the Settle-Carlisle Line stop at Skipton towards Carlislemarker from Leeds. Currently there are six daily departures for Carlisle on weekdays, seven on Saturdays and three on Sundays. There are also five daily departures for Lancaster & Morecambe on weekdays (one of which runs through to ), with two on Sundays (rising to four during the summer).

There is a single morning intercity train from Skipton and Keighleymarker to London Kings Crossmarker, with an early evening return, operated by East Coast using InterCity 125 High Speed Trains (British Rail Class 43 ). As is the case with the Bradford intercity service, this is an extension to the Leeds–London service. Though the line to Skipton is electrified throughout, the East Coast service to/from the town is operated using a diesel HST because the electrical infrastructure on the Leeds to Skipton line is insufficient to support East Coast's trains. The test run of a Class 91 on the line caused a voltage drop large enough to halt every other electric train on the line.

Future

As with much of the UK rail network, Skipton is likely to see changes over coming years in order to cope with expected growth. Former company National Express East Coast (now East Coast) has expressed a desire to introduce more direct services to London King's Crossmarker in the future, although no specific commitments have been made as yet. Network Rail is also currently investigating means of increasing capacity on the Airedale Line to Leeds as part of the Yorkshire and Humber RUS. Options could include longer trains (up to six carriages in place of the current four) or more frequent services. Plans for the route north of Skipton have already been outlined in the Lancashire and Cumbria RUS: these will see an increase in trains to Carlislemarker, with services running to a basic one train every two hours pattern, with extra services to 'fill the gaps' at peak times. Leeds to Morecambe/Lancaster services would also be made more frequent - however, these more frequent services would only run as far as Skipton. Opposition from stakeholders during the consultation phase of the RUS with regard to the loss of through trains to/from Leeds has meant that this option will likely not be pursued.

In the long term, SELRAP may achieve their aims of reopening the line to Colne, and it is possible that the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railwaymarker would be able to extend their services to Skipton in future. Both of these plans would likely result in many changes to the station.

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

It has always been a long-term plan for the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railwaymarker to extend back into Skiptonmarker. The platforms (5 & 6) that went to Ilkleymarker, were made redundant in 1965. However, a recent railway publication (Today's Railways) stated that, Network Rail has carried out a survey for the reinstatement of the connecting points between the Embsay linemarker and the freight line to Grassington, and the reinstatement of the platform 5 at Skiptonmarker. If funding is made available, then the line could be extended.

Notes

  1. Binns, p. 8
  2. Bairstow, p. 96
  3. Binns, p. 12
  4. Bairstow, p. 28
  5. Binns, p. 19
  6. Binns, p. 12
  7. Binns, p. 8
  8. Bairstow, p. 4
  9. Binns, pp. 12–13
  10. Smith & Binns, p. 5
  11. Smith & Binns, p. 8
  12. Smith & Bairstow, p. 6
  13. Awdry, p. 112
  14. Smith & Binns, p. 22
  15. Suggitt, p. 75
  16. Yorkshire and Humber RUS draft for consultation
  17. Today's Railways issue 86


References

  • Awdry, C. (1990), Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies, Patrick Stephens Ltd., Wellingborough, ISBN 1-85260-049-7
  • Bairstow, M. (2000), The "Little" North Western Railway, Martin Bairstow, Leeds, ISBN 1-87194-421-X
  • Binns, D. (1984), Steam in Airedale, Wyvern Publications, Skipton, ISBN 0-90794-111-7
  • Smith, F.W. and Bairstow, M. (1992), The Otley and Ilkley Joint Railway, Martin Bairstow, Halifax, ISBN 1-87194-406-6
  • Smith, F.W. and Binns, D. (1986), The Skipton & Ilkley Line, Wyvern Publications, Skipton, ISBN 0-90794-125-7
  • Suggitt, G. (2004 reprint), Lost Railways of Lancashire, Countryside Books, Newbury, ISBN 1-85306-801-2


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