Harrogate to York trains to double by May 2021

Harrogate to York trains to double by May 2021

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 12:09pm 29th April 2020. (Updated at 12:11pm 29th April 2020)

The number of trains running between Harrogate and York is set to double after council chiefs pledged to spend £13million on rail upgrades.

  • Harrogate to York services will double from May next year.  
  • It's after North Yorkshire County Council approved funding for improvements on the line. 
  • There will be a  twice-hourly service in both directions.  

North Yorkshire County Council has approved funds for improvement works on the railway line which will see a twice-hourly service introduced in both directions by May 2021.

The train tracks are currently running using centuries-old technology – and funds for the long-awaited improvement project were first secured in 2013.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access at the county council, said:

“One train running every hour in each direction is simply not good enough.

“This rail scheme has been on the books for as long as I have been an executive member – and clearly we want to make sure rail services between Harrogate and York are improved.

“Any improvements for rail services is always good news, but especially for a town and city which are so reliant on tourism.”

Northern rail train

The plans were approved at a virtual North Yorkshire County Council meeting on Tuesday, coming after fears the project could have been shelved.

The county council thought it would require an almost full doubling of the track at a cost of more than £40million.

Objections were also raised by train operators using the connecting East Coast mainline. They argued more frequent trains between Harrogate and York would affect their services.

And there were more questions hanging over the project when the government stripped troubled rail operator Northern of its franchise.

However, following an investigation with Network Rail, an affordable scheme was identified, involving limited track improvements and signalling upgrades, and work is now expected to start in summer.

The main improvement will involve upgrading the token block signalling to more modern technology.

Other improvement works will also allow faster speeds and more efficient use of a length of double track at Cattal.

A total of £9.6million of the scheme’s budget is being provided by York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.

North Yorkshire County Council will use £3.4million in parking fines to pay for the rest.