HARROGATE LINE - Direct London Services




Messages of Support

Direct Trains London-Hgte










NEWS RELEASE- 2nd March 2015


(Click here for PDF with more in-depth details)

See update 5/03/15

There have been many important announcements and planned developments affecting rail services to Harrogate since our previous Bulletin No 12 in September 2014. The summary below highlights the key items of news and the relevant files or weblinks. Click here to download a more detailed paper . The relevant files can be provided by e-mail on request.


Virgin Trains East Coast will operate two-hourly direct services each way between Harrogate and London Kings Cross from May 2019 using the new Inter-City Express Programme (IEP) Trains. This means six or seven direct trains a day each way, seven days a week, including an earlier arrival into Kings Cross before 09.00 – just as we campaigned for


The successful bidder for the Northern franchise is required to operate many more train services between Leeds and Harrogate from December 2017. The specification includes at least three trains each hour during the morning and evening peaks and four each hour between 10.00 and 16.00 on weekdays and Saturdays, i.e. double the current two per hour off-peak. Sunday services should also be doubled from one to two each hour between 10.00 and 19.00 between Knaresborough and Leeds. 

They are also required to upgrade the rolling stock and replace all the Pacers with new trains by 2020.


The DfT noted the aspiration for direct TPE services between Harrogate and Manchester Airport but did not stipulate such services in the ITT.  It will be up to the bidders to make such proposals if they wish.


The Northern Electrification Task Force of MPs, local authority Leaders and Network Rail was originally due to report to the Secretary of State by the end of 2014 but we now understand that it is going to publish its recommendations early in March 2015.

However the TransPennine electrification is reported to be running behind schedule and the DfT has just stated that there are “uncertainties about the timing and outputs” about the upgrading project. This likely to create some delay in the design and construction of the Harrogate Line electrification


The Chamber has challenged several technical details in the Consultant’s assessment of alternative surface access links to the Airport.  Furthermore the assessment takes no account of very high capital costs of a new line with new stations and new rolling stock, compared with making use of the existing Harrogate Line services which only requires a new station – and no new track or new rolling stock.

Likewise the assessment appears to ignore the fact that the existing Harrogate Line services are already fully resourced in terms of on-train and on-track staff, whereas the proposed new line would require new staff on the new trains and the new track and any new stations. 

As the Harrogate Line is on the Government short list for electrification, it would be logical to maximise the use of this investment which could provide a 15 minute frequency service between Leeds City Station and the Airport.  The proposed direct rail link with a 30 minute frequency would require new paths into Leeds Station and through Armley and Shipley Junctions which are currently not available.


The attached Bulletin is being sent to over 200 members of the Harrogate Line Supporters Group.  Please feel free to forward it to other interested parties and then encourage anyone who uses Harrogate Line to send me an e-mail expressing their views and requesting to be added to the mailing list in future.  Please send me details of any relevant news or views concerning the Harrogate Line.

This bulletin has been compiled in haste from numerous sources in order to get the good news out quickly.  Some of the operating details may change when the new Franchise operators take over.

Thank you for your vital support for this voluntary effort to influence the future of the HARROGATE LINE, led by Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce and the Harrogate Line Supporters Group.

Further news and comments are always welcome. Please make it clear whether they are for circulation to the Group or sent in confidence for internal use in our lobbying campaigns.

Please e-mail:  brian.dunsby@harrogateline.org 

Brian L Dunsby
P O Box 888, Dept HT13, HARROGATE HG2 8UH
Tel: 01423 879208  Fax: 01423 870025
Mobile: 07836 537512


Relevant documents for more details:

The following relevant document files or web links to them can be sent by e-mail on request:

Dept for Transport Documents:

News Release: Transformation of rail travel in the north with web links

Northern & TransPennine Express Rail Franchise Stakeholder Briefing Document & Consultation Response

Northern Franchise 2015 Invitation to Tender

TransPennine Express Franchise 2015 Invitation to Tender

Train Service Requirements – Northern Franchise 2017 & 2019

Train Service Requirements – TransPennine Franchise 2017

Exchange of letters between SoS and PS regarding replacement of Pacers


Harrogate Chamber Papers:

HT401 – Harrogate Line Objectives 7b

HT414 - Harrogate-London Direct Services v9b

HT472 – LBIA Airport Parkway Station + Benefits for Leeds City Region

HT473 – LBIA Parkway Assessment Final.doc