It doesn’t seem nine months since Kirkstall Forge Station opened amidst great fanfare, writes John Baron.
The £16 million station, which had seen its opening delayed due to over-running building work, was heralded as a new “transport hub” for West Leeds, part of a huge development at the former industrial site.
Initially only one train per hour called in each direction, with additional services during the morning and evening peaks. This has been disappointing for some travellers.
@northernassist when will trains start to stop more often at kirkstall forge??1 per hour no good
— David Porter (@davp3774) January 4, 2017
The new station is served by trains on the Wharfedale Line between Leeds and Ilkley, and Leeds and Bradford Forster Square.
So it comes as something of a pleasant surprise to see the station has surpassed expectations, taking one year’s worth of customers in its first five months alone.
According to figures released at Landor’s 2017 Rail Stations & Property conference last week, 21,400 journeys were made to Leeds from Kirkstall Forge in the first five months, against the annual 20,200 forecast.
The figures are to be welcomed – but surely demonstrate that the station is now ready to take more than the hourly service it offers into Leeds during most parts of the day?
Peak-time trains are often overcrowded – and an hourly service seems inadequate given the levels of usage.
The next phase of the multi-million pound regeneration of the former industrial area off Kirkstall Road will feature 96 houses, which include an unspecified number of family homes, and 16 apartments. Work is due to start later this year – surely an increased service is needed before then?
Together with Apperley Bridge station, which opened in December 2015, Kirkstall Forge is part of West Yorkshire’s £15.9m “Rail Growth Package”.
UPDATED 3.10pm: Here’s a link to a press release featuring the reaction to the figures from West Yorkshire Combined Authority Deputy Transport Chair Cllr Eric Firth.
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