Northern is boosting services between Leeds, Harrogate and York to give customers more choice and flexibility.
An additional service has been introduced and there will now be two trains an hour across the route throughout the day.
A launch was held on Friday 17th December at Knaresborough Station, one of the stations to benefit from the additional hourly service. In attendance were representatives from North Yorkshire and Harrogate Councils, York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.
Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “We’re pleased to be able offer these additional services for customers travelling between Leeds, Harrogate and York.
“Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and the new timetables build on the enhancements we delivered in May and will deliver high levels of reliability.”
“I want to thank our partners for helping us make this happen and I’m sure the communities on the route will value the extra options the investment provides.”
The additional services have been enabled by improvements works carried out by Network Rail and funded by North Yorkshire Council and the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Andrew Jones, Member of Parliament for Harrogate and Knaresborough said: “This investment in local rail is much-needed and welcomed. The signalling upgrade and the improvement project will see more and faster services operating between Leeds, Harrogate and York. This is one more in a long list of improvements in our rail services which have seen more direct services to and from London and improved rolling stock on the local line. It is fantastic news that we have been able to double the capacity on this section of the line.”
The near £10m infrastructure upgrade was completed earlier in the year and saw modern signalling equipment installed along the route and a better track layout to enable more trains to operate every hour.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “This timetable improvement, which owes much to the County Council’s £10m track and signals upgrade scheme of last year, complements our transport priority of improving east-west connectivity across the county and region.
“The enhanced timetable is another step towards encouraging people to use public transport rather than their cars. It also supports the visitor economy and anticipates growth in residential and commercial development along the A59 corridor.”
A total of £9.6m was secured by York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership from the Government’s Local Growth Fund to support the rail improvements.
David Dickson, Chair of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board, said: “This landmark moment is the culmination of a great deal of partnership work and technical collaboration. Harrogate – York is an important rail link and the extra capacity will support and drive growth and help create a greener, fairer and stronger economy for the region.”