£46m project to transform Leeds Station entrance reaches next stage in creating 'fantastic gateway to the city'

The transformation of Leeds City Station is reaching a new milestone as demolition works are coming to an end giving way for construction to begin in the new year, giving way for a “fantastic gateway to the city”.

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As essential maintenance work is being carried out by Network Rail to reinforce the underground structure below New Station Street, which supports much of the station above it, the Leeds City Station Sustainable Travel Gateway scheme is being delivered simultaneously.

The former cycle hub and rotunda steps outside the station’s main entrance have been torn down and a total of 13 iron beams - each weighing as much as 40 tonnes - are being removed to access a huge historical underground space known as the Mill Goit, a man-made channel off the River Aire which used the stream to power a nearby mill.

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When the station was originally built in 1869, New Station Street was built as a bridge over the channel.

A new milestone has been reached in the development of New Station Street at Leeds Station.A new milestone has been reached in the development of New Station Street at Leeds Station.
A new milestone has been reached in the development of New Station Street at Leeds Station.

Piling works will now begin which will allow the Mill Goit to host the station’s new cycle hub, and for wider construction to start. This includes two passenger lifts providing access between New Station Street and Bishopgate Street, and improvements for pedestrians which will create a more people-friendly gateway to the city.

Anna Weeks, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s North & East route, said: “For the first time in a generation, light shines into Mill Goit under the front of Leeds station. Our teams are working incredibly hard to turn this piece of history into a sustainable, accessible, passenger-focused gateway to the city’s railway station.

“This is just one of the improvement projects that Network Rail is carrying out at Leeds station to improve passengers’ experience as they travel by train in the years to come.”

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The Sustainable Travel Gateway scheme is a £46.1 million scheme being delivered by Leeds City Council on behalf of Network Rail as the landowner, and in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Delivering the scheme in tandem with the maintenance works will reduce longer-term disruption and reduce the need for further works in the future. 

The entrance to Leeds Station is due to be completed in 2025.The entrance to Leeds Station is due to be completed in 2025.
The entrance to Leeds Station is due to be completed in 2025.

It’s being funded and delivered by the Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund programme, which aims at making it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport in West Yorkshire.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “Leeds station is one of the busiest in the country and is at the heart of the national rail network, linking up destinations across West Yorkshire and beyond.

“These works are laying the foundation for a fantastic gateway to the city – which is better-connected, more people-friendly and can accommodate growing rail passenger numbers.

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“What we want to see next is a commitment from the government to a station fit for the next 100 years, so that we can continue to grow our economy, boost connectivity and tackle the climate emergency.”

The Sustainable Travel Gateway scheme will create an improved and more people-friendly environment that can accommodate a growing number of train passengers, ensuring people can enter and exit the station safely.

It will include: 

  • New Station Street pedestrianised up to and including where it meets Boar Lane, with outdoor seating, rest areas, and landscaping.
  • The taxi rank relocated to Bishopgate Street with a large and well-lit shelter and room for six vehicles, allowing for kerb-side boarding to help people with wheelchairs or assistance dogs to board more easily.
  • Two 21-passenger lifts from Bishopgate Street to the station entrance on New Station Street, providing step-free access between the two streets.          
  • A high-quality cycle hub with electric charging points and storage for all types of cycles.     
  • Environmental improvements to Neville Street and Dark Neville Street including enhanced lighting and road surfaces. Works on the east side of Neville Street have been completed, with works on the west side of Neville Street and Dark Neville Street currently on-site. Once completed, these will offer safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Installing new high-quality cycle infrastructure on Bishopgate Street and Neville Street.