Rail service to London marks first year

Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate station. (S)

Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate station. (S)

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THE new regular return train service from London King’s Cross to Harrogate has celebrated its first birthday, with 43,000 passengers using the route in the first year.

Harrogate Chamber of Trade, which lobbied for the direct service, is now pressing for shorter journey times and extra provision.

The evening return from King’s Cross to Harrogate was restored on May 22 last year after extensive lobbying by Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, supported by Harrogate Borough Council and many other local organisations.

This was the first new rail service to Harrogate for over 25 years and has been welcomed not only by Harrogate business people and local residents returning from trips to London, but by the thousands of business and leisure visitors coming to Harrogate from London, the south east and East Anglia.

Chamber chief executive Brian Dunsby said that over 60 years ago Harrogate enjoyed a frequent London-Harrogate-Edinburgh Pullman Car service with up to 10 trains per day.

This was cut back in stages until Harrogate had just one direct London service, southbound, Monday to Saturday mornings only.

The new northbound service from London to Harrogate was the first new service to Harrogate for over 25 years.

East Coast was also persuaded by the chamber to operate a new direct service in each direction on Sundays which has proved popular in both directions.

Harrogate Chamber has asked East Coast Trains to examine the possibility of making the Harrogate-London journey times shorter by reducing station delays en route.

It has also asked the Department for Transport to include in their forthcoming ECML Franchise Specification a new early morning service from King’s Cross via Leeds to Harrogate and a new evening return from Harrogate to Kings Cross.