Skipton railway station

Skipton railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Skipton
manager = Northern Rail
locale = Skipton
borough = Craven
platforms = 4

caption =
owner = Network Rail
code = SKI
usage0203 = 0.655
usage0405 = 0.761
usage0506 = 0.794
usage0607 = 0.817
years = 1847
events = Opened
latitude = 53.9586
longitude = -2.0264
gridref = SD983513
events2=Ilkley platforms added
events3=Ilkley platforms closed

Skipton railway station serves the town of Skipton in North Yorkshire, England on the Airedale Line. It is operated by Northern Rail and is situated 27 miles north-west of Leeds.

The station has 4 platforms and links Skipton to Leeds, Bradford, Carlisle and Morecambe. It is staffed on a part-time basis and a ticket office is available at most times. Skipton comes under the Dales Railcard. There are 4 seated waiting rooms available and luggage trolleys, along with a small café, toilets, a post box and a pay-phone. There is a taxi rank situated immediately outside the station, bus links nearby and the car park has spaces for 100 vehicles. The station is located on Broughton Road.


As the "Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales", Skipton historically has had high volumes of leisure traffic.

The original station was opened on 7 September 1847 by the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway, as a temporary terminus of its line from Bradford.Binns, p.8] Bairstow, p.96] The line was extended to stnlnk|Colne a year later on 2 October 1848.

Initially, passengers would leave the train at Skipton for onward travel to the villages of Wharfedale by horse-drawn coach. [cite web
title =Out of Oblivion
work =
publisher =Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-27
] There are still over 20 hotels clustered around the station, including the historic Herriots Hotel (formerly the Midland Hotel). [cite web
title =Hotels and B&Bs in Yorkshire
work =
publisher =Yorkshire Tourist Board
date =2007-08-27
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-27

The next year, the "little" North Western Railway opened a line from Skipton to Ingleton on 30 July 1849 (which was eventually extended to Lancaster and stnlnk|Morecambe in 1850).

On 30 April 1876, Skipton station was relocated a quarter of a mile northwest of its original location.Binns, p.12] By now, both the Leeds and Bradford and North Western railways had been absorbed by the Midland Railway. The new station coincided with the opening of the Midland's Settle-Carlisle Line, which made Skipton a station on the stnlnk|London St Pancras to Glasgow main line.Bairstow, p.28] Binns, p.19] The new station had four platforms and cost over £15,000,Binns, p.12] compared with the original stations's cost of £2,300.Binns, p.8] Platform 1 was a bay platform at the Bradford end, adjacent to the station building along with through platform 2, while platforms 3 and 4 formed an island platform.Bairstow, p.4]

On 1 October 1888 platforms 5 and 6 were added to serve the Skipton to Ilkley Line, which opened that day. These platforms were at a slightly higher level on a rising gradient, as the new line ran southwest of the existing line and then crossed over it by bridge eastwards.Binns, pp.12–13] Smith & Binns, p.5] Smith & Binns, p.8] Smith & Bairstow, p.6] These platforms were also later used by the Yorkshire Dales Railway, a short branch to stnlnk|Grassington from 1902 to 1930.Awdry, p.112] Passenger services to Ilkley ceased on 22 March 1965,Smith & Binns, p.22] after which platforms 5 and 6 were closed to passengers and their access subway was bricked off. However, the line through platform 5 is still in use as a single-track freight line to Swinden Quarry via the former Yorkshire Dales line. The track through platform 6 has been lifted.

The line to stnlnk|Colne closed on 2 February 1970Suggitt, p.75] and its tracks have since been lifted. An organisation called SELRAP is campaigning for the re-instatement of the link and runs occasional charter trains between the two stations, using a long diversionary route to point out the eleven mile "missing link." [Citation
title=Ride presses for train link
newspaper=Telegraph & Argus

In the 1970s, the track was removed from platform 1, and platform 4 was used as a siding. However, all four platforms were back in use when the track layout and signalling were updated in 1994 for electrification.

In 1998, the station underwent complete renovation, in preparation for the introduction of direct InterCity services to London. [Citation
title =Station gets ready for first Intercity service
newspaper =Telegraph & Argus
pages =
year =1998
date =1998-05-02
url =
] In 2004 the station underwent another minor renovation in preparation for a visit by Prince Charles. [Citation
title =Children turn out to greet royal visitor
newspaper =Telegraph & Argus
pages =
year =2005
date =2005-02-27
url =
] Following a change of cleaning contract in early 2007, users of the station began to complain about an alleged deterioration in cleanliness at the station, particularly in the waiting rooms. [Citation
last =Golby
first =M
title =Filthy Station
newspaper =Craven Herald & Pioneer
pages =
year =2007
date =2007-02-08
url =

The station is used for the overnight stabling of trains. On August 9 2003, an Arriva Trains Northern employee was seriously assaulted by a group of vandals after challenging two males daubing graffiti on a stabled train. [Citation
title =£2,000 reward offered after railway assault
newspaper =Telegraph & Argus
pages =
year =2003
date =2003-09-05
url =

Skipton railway station is currently the terminus of the 280/X80 cross-Pennine bus routes to Preston. [cite web
title =Buses
work =
publisher =Lancashire County Council Environment Directorate
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-27
] It has been proposed as the focus of a park-and-ride scheme serving commuters to Lancaster and Leeds. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Minutes of the Craven District Council Overview & Scrutiny Corporate Sub-group
work =
publisher =Craven District Council
date =2006-02-15
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-27


On Monday to Saturday in the daytime, there is a half-hourly service from Skipton to Leeds and Bradford Forster Square respectively. In the evening there is a half-hourly service to Leeds and hourly to Bradford. On Sundays, the service is hourly to Leeds and two-hourly to Bradford.

The station is the limit of the Leeds North West electrification, where the electric commuter services from Leeds terminate.

Trains using the Settle-Carlisle Line stop at Skipton towards Carlisle from Leeds. Currently there are six daily departures for Carlisle on weekdays, seven on Saturdays and three on Sundays. There are also five daily departures for Lancaster & Morecambe on weekdays, with two on Sundays (rising to four during the summer).

There is a single morning intercity train from Skipton and Keighley to London Kings Cross, with an early evening return, operated by National Express East Coast (NXEC) using InterCity 125 High Speed Trains (British Rail Class 43 (HST)). As is the case with the Bradford intercity service, this is an extension to the Leeds–London service. Though the line to Skipton is electrified throughout, the NXEC service to/from the town is operated using a diesel HST because the electrical infrastructure on the Leeds to Skipton line is insufficient to support NXEC's trains. The test run of a Class 91 on the line caused a voltage drop large enough to halt every other electric train on the line.


As with much of the UK rail network, Skipton is likely to see changes over coming years in order to cope with expected growth. National Express East Coast has expressed a desire to introduce more direct services to London King's Cross in the future, although no specific commitments have been made as yet. [cite news|url=|title=Move to improve rail services] Network Rail is also currently investigating means of increasing capacity on the Airedale Line to Leeds as part of the Yorkshire and Humber RUS. Options could include longer trains (up to six carriages in place of the current four) or more frequent services. [cite news|url=,%20North%20and%20West%20Yorkshire.pdf|title=Network Rail Strategic Business Plan for North Transpennine Area 2008] Plans for the route north of Skipton have already been outlined in the Lancashire and Cumbria Draft RUS. These will see an increase in trains to Carlisle, with services running to a basic one train every two hours pattern, with extra services to 'fill the gaps' at peak times. Leeds to Morecambe/Lancaster services would also be made more frequent - however, these more frequent services would only run as far as Skipton. [cite news|url=|title=Network Rail Route Utilisation Strategy: Lancashire and Cumbria (Draft)] . Opposition from stakeholders during the consultation phase of the RUS with regard to the loss of through trains to/from Leeds has meant that this option will likely not be pursued. [ [ Lancashire & Cumbria RUS Final version] Accessed 2008-09-01]

In the long term, Selrap may achieve their aims of reopening the line to Colne, and it is possible that the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway would be able to extend their services to Skipton in future. Both of these plans would likely result in many changes to the station.



* Awdry, C. (1990), "Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies", Patrick Stephens Ltd., Wellingborough, ISBN 1-85260-049-7
* Bairstow, M. (2000), "The "Little" North Western Railway", Martin Bairstow, Leeds, ISBN 1 871944 21X
* Binns, D. (1984), "Steam in Airedale", Wyvern Publications, Skipton, ISBN 0 907941 11 7
* Smith, F.W. and Bairstow, M. (1992), "The Otley and Ilkley Joint Railway", Martin Bairstow, Halifax, ISBN 1 871944 06 6
* Smith, F.W. and Binns, D. (1986), "The Skipton & Ilkley Line", Wyvern Publications, Skipton, ISBN 0-907941-25-7
* Suggitt, G. (2004 reprint), "Lost Railways of Lancashire", Countryside Books, Newbury, ISBN 1 85306 801 2

External links

* [ 360° panorama of Skipton railway station]
* [ of Skipton railway station platforms]

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