With construction work on the new Kirkstall Forge Rail Station largely complete, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, together with its partners Leeds City Council, site developer CEG, train operator Northern and Network Rail are awaiting approval from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to open the station to passengers.
Trains could start calling at Kirkstall Forge from Sunday 19 June 2016, although this date will be brought forward if it is possible to do so. Services will run on the Airedale, Wharfedale and Leeds Bradford lines
.Growth and job creation
Visiting the station site recently, Councillor Keith Wakefield West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee Chair said: “Kirkstall Forge station is a key element of the Combined Authority’s work to put in place a transport network that underpins growth and job creation.
“As well as providing passengers with links to Leeds’ and Bradford’s city centres, Kirkstall Forge station will support growth on the Kirkstall Forge development. And with further 127 park-and-ride spaces to add to the existing 4,500 at West Yorkshire’s rail stations, it will make an important contribution to reducing congestion and improving air quality on local routes.”
The ORR is the regulator for health and safety across the whole mainline rail network in Britain, as well as London Underground, light rail, trams and the heritage sector.Massive opportunity
On a visit to the Kirkstall Forge site in December, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the £9.5 million the Government has invested in these two new stations has provided economic security to thousands of people who have helped build them and will staff them in the future.
He said: “It’s a massive opportunity for the regional economy, and for customers who get to use the stations each day.”
Kirkstall Forge Station will provide people with links to work and leisure opportunities in Leeds, as well as bring people to the wider Kirkstall Forge development. It will also reduce existing congestion and improve journey reliability along the busy A65 and electric train links replacing car journeys will help reduce harmful emissions.
Building work has started at the Kirkstall Forge development, with the first building due for completion in 2017. Eventually, the 57-acre development will comprise over 1,000 new homes, 300,000 sq ft of offices, 100,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and community space and create around 2,400 new jobs. Exciting opportunities
In March 2016, Roger Marsh OBE Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership described the Kirkstall Forge development as “one of many exciting opportunities that are currently being delivered across Leeds City Region”.
He said: “In its heyday, Kirkstall Forge employed hundreds of people and once CEG has completed works on the site it will be somewhere that more than 10,000 people live and work. The high quality office space that is being designed, coupled with the high end landscaping that will seamlessly incorporate the new developments into the beautiful natural landscape, offer a real unique proposition for businesses looking to locate in the City Region.”Innovative
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “This scheme is a great example of the way the public and private sectors can work together using innovative new ideas to regenerate brownfield sites into places which will attract people to live, work and visit, so we very much look forward to seeing the development progress.”Benchmark
Jon Kenny, director of CEG, said: “Kirkstall Forge is unique, it will deliver fresh, sustainable new ways of living and working amongst acres of green space in a wooded riverside setting. With schools, contemporary housing, restaurants, cafés and light-filled offices, it will provide the vibrancy of city life as well as the tranquillity of the outdoors.
“Ultimately, this will not only be an ambitious and innovative development for Leeds, but will establish a new benchmark for office developments across the rest of the UK.”
The ambition to develop a “Metro-style” public transport network allowing people to travel across the City Region easily and affordably by bus and rail through smart ticketing and clear, straightforward pricing covering all forms of public transport is a key element of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the LEP’s revised Strategic Economic Plan for Leeds City Region.
Unveiled on Tuesday 24 May, the Plan sets out how the LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (CA) will create an additional 35,700 jobs for local people over the next 20 years, and grow the City Region economy at a faster rate than the national average.Find out more about the revised Strategic Economic Plan for Leeds City Region (opens in new window).
Kirkstall Forge is the second new station to be opened recently, following Apperley Bridge in December 2015. A new station at Low Moor, between Bradford Interchange and Halifax, is due to open later this year, while the Leeds Station Southern Entrance, which gives passengers at Leeds Station direct access to the area south of the River Aire, opened in January 2016.