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Handling 28 million passengers a year, Leeds Station is a nationally significant rail station and the busiest hub in the northern part of England.
Peak use of the station is expected to increase by 49% by 2023 and 135% by 2043, with the introduction of the High-Speed Rail (HS2), Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and major upgrades to the Trans-Pennine routes, according to a Network Rail study.
As a result, Network Rail proposed a new integrated Leeds Station with the aim of creating an international gateway by integrating national, regional and local services with HS2 and NPR. The project master plan also aims to drive the economic growth of the Leeds City Region.
The integrated station proposal comprises three main components, namely the upgrade of the existing station, the creation of a station district, and upgrades to the urban realm and public spaces. The proposed master plan has been released and a public consultation is currently underway, which will end by December 2017.
Construction on the project is expected to begin by 2023 with the commencement of the development works related to the HS2 phase 2b. The integrated station is expected to be completed by 2033.
Leeds Station upgrade details
The existing Leeds Station will be remodelled to create an integrated station designed based on the ‘open station’ concept, which is easy to understand and navigate. It will include new platforms, a new roof, a new footbridge, and external landscaping including a new city park and River Aria waterfront development.
A common concourse centrally located over the existing platforms will provide a hustle-free interchange to all types of rail services. It will also provide easy access to passengers on both sides of the city centre.
The concourse will include 7,000m² of waiting area with space for leisure activities and retail uses such as food and beverage kiosks.
The project will add new platforms adjacent to the current platform one. A new roof design is also proposed for the station to allow more natural light to enter the building.
The upgrade will add multiple entrances to the station, which will serve as key gateways and provide easy access to, from and between station components, the city centre, the South Bank and the River Aria water space.
District and public spaces at the new integrated station
The master plan proposes to develop a station campus surrounding the station, which will comprise 300,000m² of new commercial, residential and leisure developments. The new campus will harmonise into the integrated station with entrances and exits located strategically next to and within the buildings.
The Neville Street is proposed to be pedestrianised and the Dark Arches will be transformed into new retail and leisure spaces, which will provide direct access to the station entrances. A new public realm is also planned to be created at Yorkshire Place and Bishopgate Street.
City Square and Bishopgate Street will be transformed into pedestrian spaces and will act as high-quality entrances to the integrated station. The existing structures at the New Station Street will be removed to extend space along to Bishopgate Street, permitting access for passengers from the station to the taxi area and other means of public transportation.
The upgrade project aims to accommodate twice the number of passengers over the next 30 years by creating a world-class gateway. It will bring a step change in rail connectivity and capacity while improving journey times.
It will also create at least 8,000 new homes, generate 35,000 new jobs and promote education by creating a new learning hub in the city.
The integrated station will also adopt a smarter ticketing system in the future, which will provide interactive journey planning and provide faster travel information updates.
The master plan for the integrated Leeds Station was designed by Atkins.
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