Passengers forced to huddle in subway at Wakefield Kirkgate Station as Northern promises 'temporary shelter' for the winter

Rail passengers are being forced to huddle under a subway because of a lack of shelter at a local station.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 12:30 pm

People using Platforms Two and Three at Wakefield Kirkgate have been left exposed to the elements since a waiting room was demolished at the end of last year.

The demolition was part of long-awaited plans to install toilets at the station, but they've now been delayed because of the pandemic.

As a result passengers are now congregating at the top of the subway which links the platforms to the station's entrance.

Wakefield Kirkgate Station

Northern, which runs the station, said it would install some temporary shelter soon.

But no timescale has been put on when the toilets may be finished.

Grand Central, who were in charge of delivering the plans, furloughed large numbers of staff during lockdown, a transport scrutiny meeting last week was told.

Passenger representative Pete Daniels said: "There was some development with the toilets but now nothing's happened for the last 12 months.

Wakefield councillor Kevin Swift

"There was a waiting room on Platforms Two and Three and that's been demolished. There's been some scaffolding up but it's been like that for eight or nine months.

"I was told the toilets were going to be on Two and Three, but nothing's happened."

Plans to build the toilets were put forward in the summer of 2019 after years of requests from passengers.

At the time, it was said that Grand Central had recognised the need for a public convenience because of the growing numbers of people using Kirkgate.

However, Northern trains are currently running with around a third of the passengers they did at this point last year, because of Covid.

Wakefield councillor Kevin Swift told the meeting: "I know the number of passengers is lower but we're getting towards winter and there's no shelter.

"It's quite an exposed platform.

"People are huddling at the top of the ramp that comes from under the underpass, but at the moment there's no enclosed weather proof shelter on Platform Two or Three."

Northern's representative Pete Myers said: "It's a Grand Central project and they're leading it through their officers, but they've been furloughed throughout the Covid crisis.

"That's why it's stalled.

"However it's our station and it's our responsibility so I will chase them up and at the very least get something temporary up for the winter."

Local Democracy Reporting Service