Network Rail is urging passengers in Yorkshire who need to travel over the Late May Bank Holiday weekend to check before they travel, as crucial work takes place to improve passengers’ journeys across the region.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Network Rail engineers will continue with a vital project to construct a new platform, Platform 0, at Leeds station. The work will see track installed at Platform 0 for the first time, as well as signalling systems and equipment transferred.

These pieces of work are key to allow the current Platform 1 to close and the temporary one to open on Tuesday, 26 May; the tempoary platform will be in place until November. Work will also take place to install new switches and a crossover, the specialist piece of equipment which allows trains to move from one piece of track to another, to the tracks in platforms 1-5 at Leeds station.

All of this work is a key part of a £161million investment into the railway at Leeds station. The new platform will allow more trains into the station, providing better connections for Yorkshire, and the increased capacity will help to reduce the spread of knock-on delays, resulting in more trains running on time.

To allow the work at Leeds station to take place safely, platforms 1-5 will be closed. This means there will be no direct services between Leeds and Harrogate from Saturday, 23 May until Tuesday, 26 May. People who must travel between these areas will have to use a bus replacement service on the portion of the line between Leeds and Horsforth. The work also means that on Saturday, 23 and Monday, 25 May, trains to and from Carlisle will start and terminate at Skipton.

As well as the work at Leeds station, Network Rail will also work to upgrade the track between Wakefield Westgate and Leeds, helping to create a more modern and reliable railway, meaning fewer delays and smoother journeys for passengers.

This work means that there will be a reduced train service at Wakefield Westgate station on Sunday, 24 May. Diversionary routes will be in operation, as well as bus replacement services between Wakefield Westgate and Leeds/Sheffield/Doncaster and between Leeds and Knottingley.

Passengers who must use the railway over the Late May Bank Holiday weekend are strongly advised to check before travelling via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator and to allow additional time for their journey.

All of the work taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend is being carried out in line with Public Health England guidance.

Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North and East Route, said: “The work we are carrying out over the Bank Holiday weekend will help to improve the railway in West Yorkshire, bringing benefits for the wider region.

“The work we are doing at Leeds station will bring us one step closer to completing the construction of Platform 0, which will allow more trains to run, better connect towns and cities across the North and help to reduce delays for passengers.

“The work to upgrade the track between Wakefield and Leeds will improve the reliability of the railway, something which is particularly important during the Covid-19 crisis as critical workers, such as doctors, nurses and supermarket workers, as well as freight services transporting medical and food supplies, rely on the railway.

“We strongly advise those who need to travel over the Bank Holiday weekend to check before travelling via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator and we would like to thank people for following the Government’s advice on public transport use. Please continue to avoid public transport where possible, and where you do have to use it, follow the guidance on social distancing and allow more time for your journey.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators in Yorkshire, said: “Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Network Rail is carrying out various improvements projects across West Yorkshire, meaning changes for customers travelling on these routes.

“We’d urge anyone who must travel to follow Network Rail’s advice and check their journey ahead of time as there are changes to services. We’d like to thank all those who are impacted by this work and we look forward to them reaping the benefits once upgrades complete.”

ENDS