Railway station is back on track

Coun Phil Ireland and Mayor of Knaresborough Coun John Batt at Knaresborough railway station.

Coun Phil Ireland and Mayor of Knaresborough Coun John Batt at Knaresborough railway station.

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Knaresborough’s historic railway station could return to its former glory if plans brought forward by local politicians go ahead.

Councillors and the MP Andrew Jones have begun moves to reopen the waiting rooms in the 19th century Grade II listed buildings at the station.

The rooms have not been used for passengers since the early 1970s and most have lain empty for the last five to 10 years, since shops and restaurants which occupied them closed down.

Now Mayor of Knaresborough John Batt and Councillor Phil Ireland have begun a campaign to see the rooms reopened and facilities improved for passengers at the station.

Coun Ireland said: “Originally we thought a shelter at the end of the plaform would be a good idea, but these are magnificent old buildings so it would be much better to use them.

“I have spoken to representatives of Northern Rail in York, and they have led me to believe it would be possible.”

To begin with the councillors want to see the waiting rooms refurbished and reopened, but hope to see a community organisation take over the rooms, and even open cafes and shops in the buildings in the future, he added.

Knaresborough’s MP Andrew Jones has also lent his support. Knaresborough is one of only three stations on the 14 stop York-Harrogate-Leeds line without shelters for passengers, he said. He has written to Northern Rail directors about the scheme.

Passengers have agreed the stations needs shelters and better facilities.

Twenty-one year old Tom Bottomley uses the station several times a week to get to university in Leeds.

“Waiting rooms would definitely be a good idea because it is freezing here.

“I am not sure about cafes and shops, because I don’t think they would get much business, but re-opening the waiting rooms would be a good idea,” he said.

Visitors Mark and Jenny Smith from Otley spent the day in Knaresborough with their 18-month-old son, and agreed better facilities would improve the station.

“I bet this is quite a busy station in the summer with visitors, and there’s a cold wind down here. Waiting rooms would be good for tourists.” Mark said.

And Network Rail has announced it has scrapped proposals to close Knaresborough’s level crossing. A consultation on the scheme closed recently and a spokesperson for the company said:

“Because of the feedback from local residents and the council we know that closing the level crossing is not an option. We now have to go back and look at ways of maintaining the current level of access.”

However, longer terms plans to get rid of signalmen staffing Knaresborough station will go ahead, she added.