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Wakefield Kirkgate railway station

Wakefield Kirkgate
Entrance to the railway station viewed from the car park
Place Wakefield
Local authority City of Wakefield
Grid reference
Station code WKK
Managed by Northern Rail
Number of platforms 3
DfT category F1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05   372
2005/06 564
2006/07 769
2007/08 0.360 million
2008/09 0.484 million
2009/10 0.530 million
2010/11 0.491 million
2011/12 0.449 million
2012/13 0.448 million
2013/14 0.508 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE West Yorkshire (Metro)
Zone 3
Key dates Opened 5 October 1840 (5 October 1840)
Original company Manchester and Leeds Railway
Pre-grouping Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
5 October 1840 Station opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Wakefield Kirkgate from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
View westward, towards Mirfield in 1966
Pacer DMU at Wakefield Kirkgate platform one. May 2006
142066 at Wakefield Kirkgate platform two. May 2006
153352 DMU at Wakefield Kirkgate platform three. May 2006
45407 The Lancashire Fusilier at Wakefield Kirkgate Station in August 2010

Wakefield Kirkgate railway station is a railway station in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. Unlike the nearby Wakefield Westgate railway station, Kirkgate is unstaffed.[1] The station is managed by Northern Rail but also served by Grand Central. It is on the Hallam, Pontefract, Huddersfield lines and also has a limited number of intercity services to London King's Cross.


  • History 1
  • Current condition 2
  • Usage 3
  • Station layout 4
  • Services 5
    • Current services 5.1
    • London services 5.2
    • Steam trains 5.3
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The original Kirkgate station opened by the Manchester and Leeds Railway in 1840 was the only station in Wakefield until Westgate was opened in 1867. The station building dates from 1854.

Some demolition work took place in 1972, removing buildings on the island platform and the roof with its original ironwork canopy which covered the whole station. A wall remains as evidence of these buildings. After this, Kirkgate was listed in 1979.[2]

In January 2008 the former goods warehouse was demolished to make way for a depot for Network Rail.[3] In October 2008, part of the station wall collapsed, destroying a parked car.[4]

Current condition

Since Westgate developed as Wakefield's main station, Kirkgate was neglected for many years and was in a poor state of repair. It is currently unstaffed and, despite the presence of CCTV,[1] the local consensus was the current state of its facilities discourages its use.[5]

The station is owned by Network Rail, with Northern Rail leasing the facilities it uses. Such maintenance work as took place was focused on these areas, leaving the rest of the station derelict. Plans to redevelop the station[6] are currently underway after criticism of the main stakeholders; Northern Rail, Wakefield city council and Network Rail.[7]

The Wakefield Express newspaper launched a "Staff Our Station" campaign and petition[8] for improved safety at the station after a rape,[9] a serious assault and several robberies took place there. In July 2009, Kirkgate station was visited by Secretary of State for Transport minister Lord Adonis who dubbed it "the worst medium-large station in Britain"[10] following an inspection by the government and Network Rail, after the "Staff Our Station" campaign reached Parliament in London. In the same week Lord Adonis visited the station, a man was brutally attacked at the station with a baseball bat.[11] Improvement plans for the station were drawn up by Network Rail, Northern Rail and Wakefield council.

In July 2011, Wakefield Council was asked to decide upon a £500,000 grant to the environmental regeneration charity Groundwork UK as part of its £4 million Kirkgate project in which new life would be breathed into the publicly condemned building.[12] The proposal was approved and funds raised in March 2013.[13] Work completed by June 2013 includes the following items:[14]

  • Removing life-expired and unused canopies
  • Refurbishing and reglazing the Leeds-bound canopy
  • Creating new entrances to the subway
  • Installing electronic information screens on the platforms and entrance hall

Further work will include:

  • Units for new businesses
  • A café
  • A retail outlet with rail ticket sales
  • Exhibition spaces
  • Meeting rooms for community and local business
  • Accommodation for Groundwork Wakefield

Renovation works were completed in September 2015.[15][16]

A pub outside the station, the Wakefield Arms, a Grade II listed building[2] closed since 2003. The building has suffered from vandalism and contributes to the run-down atmosphere of the area.[17] The derelict state of the pub led to Wakefield Metropolitan District Council issuing a Section 215 notice[18] under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 ordering the owner to make improvements, but as of May 2011 this had been ignored.

Kirkgate station is believed by some to be haunted, with stories circulating about paranormal activity. Some enthusiasts have claimed that the ghost of a woman in a Victorian dress has been seen wandering the subway between platforms 1 and 2 at night.[19]


Figures for annual passenger usage at Kirkgate have been comparatively low, with only 769 tickets sold to/from the station in the 2006/7 financial year.[20] This is because most tickets are bought to Wakefield Stations, and it is hard to determine the true use of both Wakefield Westgate and Kirkgate, as separate entities. However, after changes in the way the statistics are split, Kirkgate's usage figure has increased dramatically to a value which more accurately reflects its true usage. Additionally over 61,000 interchanges were recorded during the same period.[20]

Station layout

The station currently consists of a main building with platform 1 and an island platform (2 and 3) linked by a subway. Trains for Leeds, Castleford and Normanton on the Hallam Line serve platform 1, as well as trains for Huddersfield. Platform 2 is served by Barnsley, Meadowhall, Sheffield and Nottingham trains, Huddersfield trains at 1838 and 1938 call at platform 2, and platform 3 has services towards Streethouse, Featherstone, Pontefract Tanshelf, Pontefract Monkhill and Knottingley. Grand Central London trains also call at Platform 3 towards Bradford and London.


Current services

Most services through this station are operated by Northern Rail. The services from the station towards London Kings Cross (via Doncaster) and also to Bradford Interchange (via Mirfield and the Caldervale Line) are operated by Grand Central.

London services

The station currently sees a number of trains southbound to London Kings Cross via Doncaster with some services also calling at Pontefract Monkhill. The services northbound call at Mirfield, Brighouse and Halifax before arriving at Bradford Interchange. There is however a small number of services between London Kings Cross and Bradford Interchange that do not call at Wakefield Kirkgate.

In January 2009, Grand Central had their application for train paths to run a Bradford Interchange to London service accepted by the Office of Rail Regulation.[25][26] - these use Class 180 units and started running on the 23 May 2010.[27]

Steam trains

During the summer, steam trains run through the station; the Scarborough Spa Express on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with the Scarborough Flyer on Fridays.

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Northern Rail
Northern Rail
Terminus Northern Rail
Mondays-Saturdays only
Northern Rail
Pontefract Monkhill or
  Grand Central
West Riding
Disused railways
Terminus   Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Dearne Valley Railway
  Ryhill Halt
Line and station closed


  1. ^ a b "Station Facilities: Wakefield Kirkgate". National Rail. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  2. ^ a b "List of Listed Buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Buildings of Local Interest" (PDF). City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. 2005-04-26. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Going..Going..nearly Gone..!". Wakey S&T..Online. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  4. ^ Wright, Rebecca (2008-10-03). "Car crushed as Kirkgate Station wall collapses". Wakefield Express. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  5. ^ "Rail Safety at Kirkgate and Services on the Pontefract Line" (PDF). City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Turton, Victoria (2009-01-30). "Report about 'putrid' Wakefield Kirkgate station ignored for two years". Wakefield Express. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  8. ^ "Kirkgate Station Petition". Wakefield Express. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  9. ^ "Kirkgate rapist jailed indefinitely". Wakefield Express. 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  10. ^ "Lord Adonis criticises Network Rail in letter about state of Wakefield Kirkgate". Wakefield Express. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  11. ^ Bradley, Lisa (2009-07-29). "Man attacked at Wakefield Kirkgate Station". Wakefield Express. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Council vote on Kirkgate". 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  13. ^ "Wakefield Kirkgate: £4.6m raised for 'worst' station's upgrade". BBC News. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  14. ^ "Wakefield Kirkgate Rail Station Redevelopment". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  15. ^ Yorkshire Evening Post,
  16. ^ UK Government,
  17. ^ "Shock as pub becomes den for junkies and squatters". Wakefield Express. 2004-05-14. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  18. ^ "Police force pub owner to clean up". Wakefield Express. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  19. ^ Wakefield Express article on ghost hunts
  20. ^ a b Office of Rail Regulation statistics
  21. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2013-14, Table 34
  22. ^ GB NRT, Table 39
  23. ^ GB NRT, Table 32
  24. ^
  25. ^ ORR Track Access Applications Decision for ECML Passenger Services - 28 January 2009 ORR Website; Retrieved 2009-01-29
  26. ^ Grand Central Rail - Future Developments; Retrieved 2009-08-21
  27. ^ RAIL issue 641

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Wakefield Council Report on the current state of the station, including photographs
  • Wakefield Express - Report about 'putrid' Wakefield Kirkgate station ignored for two years - 30 January 2009
  • The Signalling Centre at Wakefield
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