Commuter on a busy train

Calls for study into reopening of Leeds railway station to expand capacity

Local politicians in Leeds have called for the revival of Marsh Lane railway station to ease some of the pressure on the city’s busy main station, seeking viability studies to be carried out on it and other sites as a first step.

Proposed by the opposition Liberal Democrats, studies are being sought for new rail stations at Methley, Woodside Quarry and Marsh Lane, which those in favour argue would “expand capacity” on the rail lines serving Leeds.

A full council meeting this week (February 23) will see Leeds City Council’s Labour-run administration finalise its budget for the upcoming year.

Marsh Lane station has a rich history within the city of Leeds, having been the first railway station to open in the city, back during the industrial revolution. It was located to the east of the city centre, near the current site of BBC Leeds.

First constructed in 1840, Marsh Lane station closed 10 years later to accommodate new railway construction, before being redeveloped and reopening as a freight station in 1863.

Later that decade, in 1869, a new rail link to Leeds New Station was built and a passenger station was added to the Marsh Lane site.

It closed for the final time in 1958, with councillors now calling for its reopening to ease capacity challenges.

The amendment put forward by councillors, which is set to be presented by Leeds Liberal Democrats Leader Cllr Stewart Colton, states: “These are proposals to expand capacity on key rail routes and some of the most congested services into the city.

“Marsh Lane in particular would increase capacity for Leeds City Station.”

The viability of reopening Marsh Lane station was previously mooted in late 2019, when Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel wrote to regional transport chiefs asking for them to look into the possibility of opening a new station on the site to accommodate the growing number of housing developments in the area.

Speaking following that 2019 pitch, Cllr Andrew Carter said: “Leeds has over 30 million passengers moving in and out of the city station each year.

“Most other major cities have a central station supported by other centrally located commuter stations. To increase capacity in Leeds and improve services for commuters, serious consideration should be given to the Marsh Lane site.”

Currently there are no formal or public plans from Network Rail, Leeds City Council or West Yorkshire Combined Authority to reopen Marsh Lane railway station.

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