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“Please help me persuade Northern Rail to improve Wakefield Kirkgate station” – John Popham


John Popham

Waiting at Wakefield Kirkgate station is a very unpleasant experience. It needs upgrading urgently. Here's what it looks like if you don't know

Problem History

  • 1 John Popham reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 10:23 30 Aug 2011
  • 2 John Popham wrote to Northern Rail close 10:23 30 Aug 2011

    Here is the letter that John Popham wrote.

    Wakefield Kirkgate station is a disgrace

    I'd be grateful for any updates on upgrading Wakefield Kirkgate station. It really is horrible and an unpleasant experience to have to wait there. I avoid it whenever possible

  • 3 Customer Relations responded to John Popham close 10:26 30 Aug 2011
    Dear Customer

    Northern Customer Relations

    Case Reference: NR/221736

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train
    company serving communities across the north of England.

    We confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

    Kind regards

    Customer Relations Officer

    show quoted sections
  • 4 Peter Dixon commented close 18:20 30 Aug 2011

    Does the above link help John?

  • 5 John Popham commented close 18:38 30 Aug 2011

    Yes, thank you Peter. I wonder what actions could be taken to improve things in the immediate term, before the money comes through

  • 6 Mike Seymour commented close 15:36 31 Aug 2011

    I agree. Really wouldn't want to wait here for any length of time

  • 7 Mark Morton commented close 20:39 31 Aug 2011

    Is there anything that can be done in a guerrilla/community style? Lots of volunteers with paint one Sunday or something? Or would that seriously nark Network Rail/Northern?

    Or is the problem just way too big for that?

  • 8 John Popham commented close 20:48 31 Aug 2011

    Well, it might help, Mark. I was thinking about organising a stunt that draws attention to the problem. But the issue is much, much more than a coat of paint, as this illustrates

  • 9 Peter Dixon commented close 20:58 31 Aug 2011

    Unfortunately Mark, it would not really. First of all, you would need permission from the operator to do anything and any attempts made without would result from a robust response.

    It needs a support group and investment. They are both in the pipeline but at the moment it just continues to decay.

  • 10 Mark Morton commented close 21:21 31 Aug 2011

    Both fair and valid points, John and Peter.

    I like the idea of a stunt. Trouble is, of course, that all the Powers That Be (Northern, Metro, DfT, Wakefield council) know of the problems anyway.

  • 11 John Popham commented close 21:38 31 Aug 2011

    Yes, they do; but the wider world doesn't. I mean it didn't even feature in the list of worst stations when Lord Adonis did his tour of the transport network a couple of years ago. The issue needs to be drawn to national attention to put pressure on those with the power to do something to act

  • 12 Myf Nixon commented close 10:21 01 Sep 2011

    Hi John,

    Just a thought: you can add photos to this page - that might help get your point across, if you happen to have a camera next time you're at Wakefield Kirkgate.

  • 13 Myf Nixon commented close 10:23 01 Sep 2011

    Also - loving the idea of a 'stunt' - but to stay on the right side of the authorities I'd suggest a volunteer group which actually approaches the Northern Rail for permission first. ;)

    Have you seen what the Friends of Homerton Station have done? Maybe it's time Kirkgate got a few friends too...

  • 14 John Popham commented close 10:40 01 Sep 2011

    I've got photos, videos audio and much more

  • 15 Paul Webster commented close 12:19 01 Sep 2011

    Northern Rail are very supportive of Community Rail partnerships and the adoption of stations - see
    Is there a group of local users and residents nearby who could support this and be the friends of the station?

    As an infrequent user of the station I know its not in an ideal community location and I suspect most people simply pass through it (as quickly as possible!) so don't have the same affection as they would for a rural line or station.

    Now that Grand Central use the station for their London services I wonder what advert this place is for the town! (John - Maybe a survey you could run next time you go that way?)

    Need to keep the pressure on this one!

  • 16 Northern Rail responded to John Popham close 15:08 05 Sep 2011
    05 September 2011

    Our Reference NR/ 221736

    Dear Mr Popham

    Yours sincerely

    Brian Walker
    Customer Relations Officer
    Northern Customer Relations
    First Floor, The Travel Centre
    City Railway Station
    LS1 4DY

    Tel 0845 00 00 125
    Fax 0113 2479 059

    show quoted sections
  • 17 Peter Dixon commented close 22:32 05 Sep 2011

    Hey John, there does not appear to be any response from Northern Rail. Do you want to get back in touch with them to get a response?

  • 18 Myf Nixon commented close 16:51 06 Sep 2011

    Hm! That is an odd response!

  • 19 Simon Geller commented close 16:26 16 Sep 2011

    Kirkgate is an increasingly important interchange now that Northern stop their semi-fast Nottingham to Leeds trains there and Grand Central stop there as well. Passengers deserve better!

  • 20 Mr Palmer commented close 21:56 14 Nov 2011

    Hi. I have been using Wakefield Westgate Station as well. One major problem there is they have NO LIFTS so people who need to get across to the other platform have to ask for assistance. This seems to only apply to 'disabled' in that, people with large/heavy bags and 'able' are 'encouraged' to walk up the stairs and over the bridge and down the stairs on the otherside. It's not very good at all. I was told that I had to book an attendant if I wanted to walk across to the other platform and they couldn't 'just' do it! I SUPPORT WALKFIELD KIRKGATE STATION - MAY IT GET BETTER! Keep lobbying!

  • 21 Myf Nixon advised John to write to Olivia Rowley. close 10:25 15 Nov 2011

    Thanks to Mr Palmer's comment, this report has risen back to the top of the pile, which is good. It shouldn't be forgotten.

    John, if you would like to nudge Northern Rail into a more fulsome reply, you can contact them via the yellow 'email' button at the top of this page.

    Meanwhile, have you thought about contacting one of your local councillors? They are responsible for ensuring that public transport meets their constituents' needs, so this certainly falls within their remit.

    There are three whose constituency covers this station - you can see them at I've picked the first one at random, but you could try the others too.

    If you include the URL, then you won't have to repeat your point, and she'll be able to see that there's quite a bit of support for this issue.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

  • 22 Stuart Wilks commented close 23:03 27 Dec 2011

    Have written to local MP, tweeted @networkrail, written to Northern Rail.

  • 23 Simon Geller commented close 11:50 28 Dec 2011

    Went to the new Hepworth gallery yesterday. Fantastic place, such a shame that arrival at Kirkgate is so forbidding. Also the footpaths along the along the rivers and canals which people are quite likely to want to take a walk along following their visit, are in a very poor condition with litter & flytipping everywhere. There is a walk up to Heath which could be very pleasant if Wakefield were to take a bit more care of the surroundings.The local road system is forbidding to walkers and cyclists as well.

  • 24 John Popham commented close 12:22 28 Dec 2011

    Thanks for that, Simon.

    I believe the official advice for the Hepworth is to use Westgate station and walk from there, even though it is considerably further away. This, however, ignores the way most people get their information these days, and, without having done it, I'm pretty sure that most web-based map and travel services will tell you that Kirkgate is the nearest station and to use that

  • 25 Simon Geller commented close 12:39 28 Dec 2011

    I've sent my comments on to Victoria Moulton, Public Rights of Way officer at Wakefield MBC as well -

  • 26 Dave H commented close 01:38 30 Dec 2011

    Northern has steadily built on the foundations of Paul Salveson's ACoRP initiatives at many of their stations - they manage around 20% of the total of 2500 rail stations in the UK and have many local groups who have signed up to enhance and monitor their local stations, and the nature of Northern Rail's portfolio is such that a substantial number are very basic and unstaffed. Northern is especially good at Community Rail delivery - they started the whole idea of folk and jazz trains to get the evening services filled on the Penistone Line and I thought there was already a group working with them on Wakefield Kirkgate

    A swift bit of Googling confirmed that I had heard about work being done on Wakefield Kirkgate at a meeting with Northern Rail on station facilities around their system and checking out the Newsletter from Early 2011 this article was featured:

    Wakefield Kirkgate

    The national charity, the Groundwork Trust, in conjunction with Northern and Network Rail, has so far raised £1.6 million towards a restoration project to bring back into use the redundant station building at Wakefield Kirkgate, with further bids for funding from the Heritage lottery and European funding under consideration. The scheme has now entered initial design phase to incorporate space for the trust as well as community, new start ups, green space, retail and rail users being accommodated. We will be approaching
    some well known food retailers to gauge interest in a retail venture that could be incorporated into the station.

    One might perhaps enquire about whether this money is still on the table, and how far the project has progressed. Northern has generally been very effective in getting tenants in to the station buildings which they have to keep (as railway heritage) and need to fill with activity to deliver a healthy station.

    So rather than take such a negative approach (and note that Northern has to log every complaint received as a black mark against their franchise performance) do something positive instead.

    1) Check out the existence of a Community Rail group for the line or the station itself and find out what might already be happening. Why not commit to forming one if none exists?

    2) Get to see what that £1.6m pot might have already planned to deliver, and see what else can be brought to the table - although a large operation like Groundwork can have inertia issues to keep every project moving across the UK.

    So if you know a business that needs space or a group who need a base you could get that old station filled with activity and people beat CCTV by a muile when it comes to making a place safer and more secure.

  • 27 Peter Dixon commented close 22:16 30 Dec 2011


    When you get replies from them, please post them on here.

    I have dug Dave and Wakefield Kirkgate should see some significant changes over the coming months.

    Here is a piece from West Yorkshire Metro (local PTE)

    - - - - - - - -

    The thousands of rail passengers who pass through Wakefield Kirkgate will begin to see major improvement works starting early 2012.

    Network Rail will be carrying out major works to refurbish the canopy over the Leeds bound platform and remove all life expired and unused canopies. Proposals also include the removal of the island platform spine wall (subject to Listed Building Consent) which remains in place following the removal of the station roof during the 1970s. New subway entrances will be created using reclaimed material from the platform spine wall and modern glazing.

    Plans to restore the Grade II listed station building are continuing to be developed. The £4.2 million scheme driven by Groundwork Wakefield and multiple funding partners will see the building brought back to life
    - - - - - - - -

    So Kirkgate should see some work take place. However, the Groundwork plans rely on several funding pots, which are currently being worked through.

    Here is the latest media release from them

    I have also tweeted them for an update.

    In addition, there is also supposed to be a Friends of Kirkgate Railway Station group. I have tweeted RailFuture to ask them for any contact details they may have.

  • 28 Ken Kendall commented close 15:07 06 Jan 2012

    I commute to and from this station everyday. It is an awful station especially at this time of year when cold, wet and windy. Especially as there is no where to shelter from the elements.
    Aside from these obvious problems there are other miseries communters have to contend with. On Wednesday this week I was waiting for the 5.28 to Leeds which had been announced as on time. I was still waiting for it when the 5.58 came in. There had been no announcements that it had been cancelled, delayed (or lost?). What irks me is that it seems that the rail companies don't care about the station nor the people who use it. I accept that trains can be delayed and cancelled but I would like to know so that I can make plans to get up to Westgate rather than wait in the cold and wet.
    Let's hope this gets sorted out soon.

  • 29 Peter Dixon commented close 20:09 10 Jan 2012

    Railfuture have not come back to me with regards to Friends of Kirkgate Railway Station. I am going to contact Groundworks tonight about their progress with Wakefield Kirkgate and point them towards this page.

    Kind regards

  • 30 Stuart Wilks commented close 21:45 10 Jan 2012

    response from network rail suggests money has been earmarked for repairs this year.

  • 31 Stuart Wilks commented close 21:47 10 Jan 2012

    also email received from local MP's assistant:

    Thank you for your email to Mary Creagh about the appalling state of Kirkgate station. Mary has been working on the issue for some time and is demanding that Network Rail bring forward more money urgently to bring the station up to scratch. There are plans to regenerate the station and the funding is almost in place. I believe that an announcement will be made in the near future on the funding and the plans that the council are bringing forward along with Groundwork, Network Rail and the train operating companies.

  • 32 Simon Geller commented close 08:31 11 Jan 2012

    Latest Rail magazine has a piece reporting that will work will start on Kirkgate early this year.

  • 33 John Popham added an update close 22:50 16 Jan 2012

    This is excellent news that funding seems to be in place to regenerate the station. But action now needs to be taken quickly

  • 34 Paul Hollinghurst commented close 14:36 17 Jan 2012

    Network rail have just put out a press release about the work:

    We’ve secured more than £1.5m funding to transform the listed Wakefield Kirkgate station building.
    We’ve already submitted applications to the council for consent to remove the redundant spine wall and replace canopies at the station. If consent is given, we’ll begin work in February and complete it by May 2012.
    It is a scheme which has been awarded £1.039m from the Station Commercial Project Facility fund (an initiative developed by the Department for Transport), supplemented by an additional £0.5m directly from us.

    improved the CCTV system
    refurbished the subway
    improved the signage
    installed a new help point
    refurbished the entrance lobby
    resurfaced the car park allowing the free bus to call at the station

    Paul (FixMyTransport volunteer)

  • 35 Paul Berry commented close 18:40 17 Jan 2012

    Wakefield Kirkgate improvement funding just featured on Look North so profile quite high, I'd say.

    Roll on the changes.

  • started 30 August 2011
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Wakefield Kirkgate Rail Station in Wakefield operated by Northern Rail
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