Network Rail has said the most significant track upgrade at Leeds station for two decades has now been completed.
It said the improvements would provide a more reliable railway for passengers.
From Christmas Day until Monday 3 January 2022, more than 200 railway staff remodelled the track layout between platforms 4 and 6. The new layout improves the way trains move in and out of the station, which will help to reduce delays.
Other work included installing over 1,500 metres of new electric wires and renewing over 200 metres of track to improve reliability. Platform 7 was also extended so that longer trains can stop at the platform.
Matt Rice, North and East route director for Network Rail, said: “These important improvements at Leeds make it easier for us to run more trains on time right across the North. We had to run some bus replacement services over the course of the festive period and Covid also affected some services, so thanks to all those passengers who chose to travel.
“The progress we’ve made means better journeys for everyone using the train in 2022 and beyond.”
Minor follow-up work will take place on Sunday 30 January 2022, which will mean some changes to services to and from Leeds station.
Rail minister, Wendy Morton said: “Leeds station is a major hub right at the heart of the North, not only a gateway to one of the UK’s most vibrant and lively cities but a vital transport link enabling people from all over the country to travel for work, pleasure and connect with friends and family.
“These upgrades are a huge milestone making these journeys even easier, providing passengers with more seats, more services and more punctual journeys all while building upon our unprecedented Integrated Rail Plan – delivering a modern, fully connected transport hub fit for the future quicker than under previous plans.”
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Expanding and improving the rail network will be key to reducing carbon emissions and helping cities to thrive. The upgrades at Leeds station will enable more people to travel by rail and make journeys more reliable, an important step towards a greener transport future.”
Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “The completion of these upgrade works to Leeds station is welcome news to start the New Year.
“Upgrades to platform and concourses will mean a better passenger experience for those using the station and the track improvements will help to improve the reliability of train services, as well as increase capacity in the region.”The strength of the return to rail across the North highlights the need for and benefit of investment in our rail network: further investment is required to address both current bottlenecks and provide the capacity that will unlock the North’s economic potential. As a key hub on the national rail network these upgrade works are a good first step towards achieving that, but there remains a huge amount of work to be done. We will continue to work with the government and our partners to make the case for the investment that will give passengers and freight in the North a railway network fit for today and for generations to come.”
Passengers at Leeds station are also now able to use fast free WiFi, working across multiple devices with a single sign-on. Speeds clock in at a streaming-friendly speed of 120 megabytes per second.
The upgrade is part of Network Rail’s plan to transform the digital experience at the biggest and business stations in Britain.
Nick Cooper, Leeds station manager for Network Rail, said: “Our new, fast, free and unlimited WiFi keeps passengers seamlessly connected, no matter where they are in their journey – and with people working more flexibly, it’s more important than ever that people can stay connected while they travel.
“I hope that this comes as an extra Christmas present to those passengers who have been asking for this new service and I’m excited to make the most of the opportunities it opens up for digital experiences at the station.”