Wakefield Kirkgate railway station

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Wakefield Kirkgate railway station
Wakefield Kirkgate railway station is a railway station in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. Unlike the nearby Wakefield Westgate railway station, Kirkgate is unstaffed and served mostly by local trains. It is on the Hallam, Pontefract and Huddersfield lines.

History
The original Kirkgate station was opened by the Manchester and Leeds Railway in 1840, and it remained the only station in central Wakefield until Westgate was opened in 1867. The present building dates from 1854. Some demolition work took place in 1972, removing buildings on the island platform and a roof which covered the whole station. A wall remains as evidence of these buildings, with an original ironwork canopy. Following this, Kirkgate was listed in 1979. January 2008 saw the demolition of the former goods warehouse to make way for a new depot for Network Rail. In October 2008, part of the station wall collapsed, destroying a parked car.

Current condition
Since Westgate has been developed as Wakefield's main station, Kirkgate has been neglected and the station is in a poor state of repair. It is unstaffed and, despite the presence of CCTV, the local consensus is that the current state of the facilities discourages use of the station. The station is owned by Network Rail, with Northern Rail leasing the facilities they use. Such maintenance work as takes place is focused on these leased areas, leaving the rest of the station derelict. Plans to redevelop the station have so far come to nothing. The ongoing failure to improve Kirkgate has led to criticism of the main stakeholders; Northern Rail, Wakefield city council and owner Network Rail. Metro, the local passenger transport executive, is working on a master plan for the station, including redevelopment of the existing facilities. A local newspaper, the Wakefield Express , has launched a 'Staff Our Station' campaign and petition to push for improved safety at the station following a rape, a serious assault and several robberies. In July 2009, Kirkgate station was visited by Secretary of State for Transport minister Lord Adonis who dubbed the station 'the worst medium-large station in Britain' following an inspection by the government and Network Rail, after the 'Staff Our Station' campaign reached Parliament in London. In the same week that Lord Adonis visited the station, a man was brutally attacked at the station with a baseball bat, and improvement plans for the station were drawn up by Network Rail, Northern Rail and Wakefield council. The figures for annual passenger usage at Kirkgate have in the past been comparatively low, with only 769 tickets sold to/from the station in the 2006/7 financial year. 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 following 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. A pub outside the station, the Wakefield Arms, is also Grade II listed but has been closed since 2003. The building has suffered from vandalism. Kirkgate station is believed by some to be haunted, with stories circulating about paranormal activity. Apparently the ghost of a woman in Victorian dress has been seen wandering the subway between platforms 1 and 2.

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.

Services

Current services
Most services through this station are now (2011) operated by Northern Rail, having previously been operated by Arriva Trains Northern and Northern Spirit since the privatisation of British Rail which occurred in stages between 1994 and 1997.
  • Hallam Line - There are three trains per hour to Leeds and to Sheffield, two express and one stopping service.
  • Huddersfield Line - There is an hourly service from Westgate to Huddersfield with no Sunday service.
  • Pontefract Line - There is an hourly service to Knottingley railway station via Pontefract Monkhill with no service on Sundays.
  • Leeds to Nottingham - There is an hourly service every day in both directions, via Barnsley, Sheffield and Chesterfield, since December 2008.


London services
The station now sees regular services to London Kings Cross via Pontefract and Doncaster. In January 2009, Grand Central have had their application for train paths to run a Bradford Interchange to London service accepted by the Office of Rail Regulation. Three trains per day operate initially now that full approval for the service has been granted - these use Class 180 units and started running on the 23 May 2010.

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

Preceding station National Rail Following station Northern Rail Northern Rail Terminus Northern Rail Northern Rail Leeds-Nottingham Barnsley Pontefract Monkhill Grand Central London-Bradford Brighouse Disused railways Terminus Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Dearne Valley Junction Railway Ryhill Halt Line and station closed

Media

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