Wetherby train station: Petition launched to reintroduce trains in Leeds market town and bring tourism boost
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Chris Matejak, who started the petition on July 2, explained that if the town had a station, it could boost tourism and benefit the local economy.
He said: “Since the pandemic, the high street has taken a hit with many businesses folding and sitting empty. While the government raves about the northern power house, it is often focused on big cities like Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool – but the towns in the suburbs do not see anything.”
He added: “Wetherby has an array of independent businesses, yet is served by a shabby, out-of-date shed for a public transport hub. We need to invest in our towns and rejuvenate the high street so businesses and communities can thrive and everyone can experience what Wetherby has to offer.”
Network Rail, the body that owns the lines, said there are currently no plans to build a new station in the town, but that bosses would “continue to review the feasibility of any opportunities to support the government’s objectives for rail”.
Wetherby’s train station closed for passengers in 1964 and to goods two years later under the ‘Beeching axe’, a sweeping series of route closures that came as the country’s railway system was restructured. Part of the tracks between Wetherby and Leeds have since been used for housing developments, while other parts are used for cycle routes.
Coun Penny Stables, of the Green Party, represents the Wetherby ward at Leeds City Council. She said: “If you look at a map of the Leeds metropolitan area, the outer north east is the only area without a train station, so as a result, we need an even better bus service – but unfortunately we don’t have that either.
“It would make a real difference in getting more people out of their cars which would help the environment, and it would boost the economy because more people would visit local shops. Wetherby is a beautiful market town and this would help to attract more tourists.”
Logistically, building lines from Leeds to Wetherby could prove difficult because of the boom in housebuilding in recent years, but Coun Stables suggested that the route could meet the town by heading around the city and coming in from a different direction.