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Skipton railway station

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Skipton railway station

Place Skipton
Local authority Craven
Grid reference
Station code SKI
Managed by Northern Rail
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 4
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03  0.655 million
2004/05 Increase 0.761 million
2005/06 Increase 0.794 million
2006/07 Increase 0.817 million
2007/08 Increase 0.850 million
2008/09 Increase 0.865 million
2009/10 Increase 0.879 million
2010/11 Increase 0.930 million
2011/12 Increase 0.949 million
2012/13 Decrease 0.944 million
2013/14 Increase 1.002 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE West Yorkshire (Metro)
Zone 7
Original company Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway
Pre-grouping Midland Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
1847 Opened
1876 Relocated
1888 Ilkley platforms added
1965 Ilkley platforms closed
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Skipton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
Thames-Clyde Express in 1961

Skipton railway station serves the town of Skipton in North Yorkshire, England on the Airedale Line. It is operated by Northern Rail and is situated 27 miles (43 km) north-west of Leeds.

The station has four platforms and links Skipton to Leeds, Bradford, Carlisle, Lancaster and Morecambe. 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.


As the "Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales", Skipton historically has had high volumes of leisure traffic. Ilkley railway station serves as an alternative for this function being at the southern end of the Dales Way.

The original station was opened on 7 September 1847 by the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway, as a temporary terminus of its line from Bradford.[1][2] The line was extended to Colne a year later on 2 October 1848.[1]

Initially, passengers would leave the train at Skipton for onward travel to the villages of Wharfedale by horse-drawn coach.[3] There are still over 20 hotels clustered around the station, including the historic Herriots Hotel (formerly the Midland Hotel).[4]

The next year, the "little" North Western Railway opened a line from Skipton to Ingleton on 30 July 1849 (which was eventually extended to Lancaster and Morecambe in 1850).[2]

On 30 April 1876, Skipton station was relocated a quarter of a mile northwest of its original location.[5] 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 London St Pancras to Glasgow main line.[6][7] The new station had four platforms and cost over £15,000,[5] compared with the original station's cost of £2,300.[1] 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.[8]

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.[9][10][11][12] These platforms were also later used by the Yorkshire Dales Railway, a short branch to Grassington from 1902 to 1930.[13] Passenger services to Ilkley ceased on 22 March 1965,[14] after which platforms 5 and 6 were closed to passengers and their access subway was bricked off.[8] However, the line through platform 5 is still in use as a single-track freight line to Swinden Quarry via the former Yorkshire Dales line. The track through platform 6 has been lifted.[11]

The line to 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."[16]

In the 1970s, the track was removed from platform 1, and platform 4 was used as a siding. However, all four platforms were put back in use when the track layout and signalling were updated in 1994 for electrification.[8] As part of this work, both remaining signal boxes were closed and demolished (control initially passing to Leeds PSB and eventually to the IECC at York) and the former goods yard was converted for use as a carriage depot (complete with a new washer plant). This was upgraded and expanded in 2011 to add capacity for a further three units.[17] Several EMU and DMU sets are stored there overnight and at weekends.

In 1998, the station underwent complete renovation, in preparation for the introduction of direct InterCity services to London.[18] In 2004 the station underwent another minor renovation in preparation for a visit by Prince Charles.[19] 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.[20]

The station is used for the overnight servicing 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.[21]

Skipton railway station is currently the terminus of the 280/X80 cross-Pennine bus routes to Preston.[22] It has been proposed as the focus of a park-and-ride scheme serving commuters to Lancaster and Leeds.[23]


During Monday to Saturday daytime, there is a half-hourly service to both Leeds and Bradford Forster Square. There are additional trains to Leeds during the morning peak and in the opposite direction in the evening rush hour. In the evenings there is a half-hourly service to Leeds, and an hourly service to Bradford Forster Square.[24]

On Sundays there is an hourly service to Leeds and a two-hourly service to Bradford.

There are also a number of trains each day from Leeds to Carlisle (seven on weekdays and four on Sundays) and to Lancaster & Morecambe (five on weekdays, four on Sundays; both routes operated by Northern Rail). These usually serve the principal stations only between Leeds & Skipton. On Sundays, one Carlisle service starts from Sheffield and runs through to Nottingham on the return journey - this has operated since the December 2012 timetable change and is the first through Nottingham service from Skipton since the Nottingham - Glasgow Central via Leeds trains were withdrawn in May 1982.

There is also a single daily service from Skipton to London King's Cross (via Leeds), which is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast. A return service also operates from King's Cross to Skipton each day.

The station is the limit of the Leeds North West electrification, where the electric commuter services from Leeds terminate. The actual wiring extends beyond the station for a few hundred metres along the main line and into the carriage sidings, before it finally ends at the site of the former Skipton North Junction, where the Colne line diverged before its closure in 1970.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Keighley   Virgin Trains East Coast
East Coast Main Line
Keighley   Northern Rail
Leeds to Morecambe Line
Keighley   Northern Rail
Settle-Carlisle Line
Cononley   Northern Rail
Airedale Line
Historical railways
Embsay   Midland Railway
Skipton to Ilkley Line
Rylstone   Midland Railway
Yorkshire Dales Railway
Cononley   Midland Railway
Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway
Terminus   Midland Railway
"Little" North Western Railway


Skipton station in June 2013.

As with much of the UK rail network, Skipton is likely to see changes over coming years in order to cope with expected growth. Virgin Trains East Coast (formerly East Coast) has expressed a desire to introduce more direct services to London King's Cross in the future, although no specific commitments have been made as yet.[25] Network Rail is also currently investigating means of increasing capacity on the Airedale Line to Leeds as part of the Yorkshire and Humber RUS.[26] Options could include longer trains (up to six carriages in place of the current four) or more frequent services.[27] 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 Carlisle, 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.[28] 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.[29] Further major alterations may come about when the 2011 "Eureka" EC clock-face timetable comes into effect, including the return of electric traction on one of the two London trains and a northbound SuO service from the capital.[30] (now implemented - see above).

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 Railway 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

Since Preservation, It has always been a long-term plan for the preserved Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway to extend into Skipton.

The platforms (5 & 6) that went to Ilkley, 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 line and the freight line to Grassington, and the reinstatement of the platform 5 at Skipton. If funding is made available, then the line could be extended.[31]

Platform 6 may also be reinstated as a run-round loop as part of the project.


  1. ^ a b c Binns, p. 8
  2. ^ a b Bairstow, p. 96
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Binns, p. 12
  6. ^ Bairstow, p. 28
  7. ^ Binns, p. 19
  8. ^ a b c Bairstow, p. 4
  9. ^ Binns, pp. 12–13
  10. ^ Smith & Binns, p. 5
  11. ^ a b Smith & Binns, p. 8
  12. ^ Smith & Bairstow, p. 6
  13. ^ Awdry, p. 112
  14. ^ Smith & Binns, p. 22
  15. ^ Suggitt, p. 75
  16. ^
  17. ^ The Rail Engineer - Skipton Expansion Wordsworth, Nigel; The Rail Engineer 20 February 2012; Retrieved 20 December 2013
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2013-14, Table 36 (Network Rail)
  25. ^
  26. ^ Yorkshire and Humber RUS draft for consultation
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Today's Railways issue 86


  • 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 1-871944-21-X
  • Binns, D. (1984), Steam in Airedale, Wyvern Publications, Skipton, ISBN 0-907941-11-7
  • Smith, F.W. and Bairstow, M. (1992), The Otley and Ilkley Joint Railway, Martin Bairstow, Halifax, ISBN 1-871944-06-6
  • Smith, F.W. and Binns, D. (1986), The Skipton & Ilkley Line, Wyvern Publications, Skipton, ISBN 0-907941-25-7
  • Suggitt, G. (2004 reprint), Lost Railways of Lancashire, Countryside Books, Newbury, ISBN 1-85306-801-2

External links

  • Train times and station information for Skipton railway station from National Rail
  • Photograph of Skipton railway station platforms
  • Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway - Photos of Skipton Station past & present
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