Looking across Leeds station from platform 8 - platform 17

Leeds (Leeds)

Welcome to the guide to to taking trains to and from the busiest station in northern England.

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At a Glance

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The new main entrance to the station which houses an expanded concourse The new main entrance to the station which houses an expanded concourse
The entrance to the Northern concourse to the right of the Queens hotel The entrance to the Northern concourse to the right of the Queens hotel
The new entrance on the south side of the station The new entrance on the south side of the station
The gorgeous Art-Deco northern concourse houses most of the cafes and shops The gorgeous Art-Deco northern concourse houses most of the cafes and shops
The dominant feature of the station are the escalators on platforms 9 - 17 The dominant feature of the station are the escalators on platforms 9 - 17

Leeds is the busiest station in Northern England, so it’s a constantly hectic space that’s arguably too small for the number of people and trains which now use it.

To accommodate all the trains which depart from the station, many of its 17 platforms (tracks) been subdivided into up to four sections ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ with many trains only using these specific parts of each platform.
Also each of these specific platforms (tracks) usually has multiple departures per hour.

So when taking a train from Leeds, you will usually have to pay close attention to which specific platform (track) your train will be leaving from, 9A is not the same as 9D etc.

Though some longer trains will occupy the entire length of the platform, so if only a number is used on the departure screens you can wait anywhere along the length of that platform to board a train.

The three sets of platforms/tracks:

The terminus part of the station which houses platforms 1-6 The terminus part of the station which houses platforms 1-6
Looking across the main part of the station which houses platforms 7-17 Looking across the main part of the station which houses platforms 7-17

The part of the station which the trains use is also in three distinct parts; all of which can be accessed by using the same ticket gate line, which separates the main station building from the platforms (tracks).

Platforms (tracks) 1 -6:

This part of the station is a terminus so it’s on the same level as the main concourse, though platforms 3 and 4 are more distant from the ticket gates.
The 'C' sections of these platforms are nearest to the concourse, but the A sections are furthest from the ticket gates.

This part of the station is usually used by these six Northern train services:
(1) to/from Bradford including trains which continue beyond Bradford to Chester and Manchester via Hebden Bridge and Halifax.
(2) the Wharfedale trains to/from Ilkley
(3) the Airedale line trains to/from Skipton via Keighley for the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and Saltaire for Saltaire Mills
(4) the Harrogate Line trains
(5) the trains to Carlisle on the spectacular route via Hellifield and Settle
(6) the trains to Lancaster via Hellifield and Carnforth

Platforms (tracks) 7 and 8:

Platform 8 is right by the ticket gate line and is beside the main concourse; and platform 7 is at its far end, so the access to and from the trains which use these platforms is step-free
Platform 8 is usually used by the LNER trains to and from London.

Platforms (tracks) 9 -17:

The dominant feature of Leeds station is the huge bridge which connects these platforms to the ticket gate line, by the main concourse.
Both the concourse and each of these platforms (tracks) are connected to this bridge by escalators and lifts (elevators) - and there are also stairs available.

The long distance trains which use these platforms include:

  • the Cross Country trains to multiple destinations including Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Edinburgh, Durham, Newcastle. Sheffield and York
  • the Trans Pennine Express trains to multiple destinations including Durham, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester (faster than the Northern trains), Newcastle, Scarborough and York.

Departing by train:

The escalators/stairs on the right are straight ahead from the ticket gates The escalators/stairs on the right are straight ahead from the ticket gates
On the footbridge which connects the main station building with platforms 9 - 17 On the footbridge which connects the main station building with platforms 9 - 17
An elevator on the bridge down to a set of platforms, which passengers with luggage are instructed to use An elevator on the bridge down to a set of platforms, which passengers with luggage are instructed to use
One of the A to Z departure screens on the platforms, useful for checking connections One of the A to Z departure screens on the platforms, useful for checking connections
Finding the exact platform can be tricky so allow plenty of time Finding the exact platform can be tricky so allow plenty of time

If you arrive at Leeds station in time to have something to eat or drink before your train departs, the best location in which to wait for a train, is the glorious Art-Deco creation that is the Northern Concourse.
It is off to the right of the main concourse, on the other side of the ticket desks and the LNER first class lounge – it houses information screens, so you can keep an eye on the train departure details.

On the departure screens many of the platforms are shown as a combination of numbers AND letters; 5C, 9D and 15A etc.
If your departure is leaving from such a specific platform (track) you need to keep this combination of numbers AND letters in mind as you make your way to your train.
Platform (track) 9A is at the opposite end of the station to platform 9D etc.
The ‘D’ platforms are furthest from the main concourse, so allow a minimum of three minutes to make your way to trains which leave from here, if you don’t want to hurry.

If your train is departing from any part of platforms (tracks) 9 – 17, you will need to make your way to it, by using the bridge which spans the station; it can be accessed by escalators and lifts (elevators).
Though the escalators which link the bridge to platforms (tracks) 9 – 17 only lead upwards, so the options for descending down to the trains are to use to the stairs or the elevators.

If you use the stairs to descend from this bridge, you will be on the B or C sections of the platforms (tracks); the A sections will then be behind you on the other side of the bridge and the D sections will be ahead of you, at the far end of the platform.

Arriving by train:

Escalators connect the platforms to the bridge, they usually lead upwards Escalators connect the platforms to the bridge, they usually lead upwards
This other escalator leads down from the footbridge to the exits This other escalator leads down from the footbridge to the exits
The train is at platform 8 which is by the ticket gates which lead to the exits The train is at platform 8 which is by the ticket gates which lead to the exits
At Leeds station the lifts are clearly marked and relatively easy to find At Leeds station the lifts are clearly marked and relatively easy to find
On platforms 9-17 the elevators are in these white 'boxes' behind the escalators On platforms 9-17 the elevators are in these white 'boxes' behind the escalators

If your train arrives in Leeds at platforms (tracks) 1 – 8 when you alight from it, you will be on the same level as the main station concourse.
To access it all you have to do is walk through the main ticket gate line; though you’ll need to open the gates with your ticket, so don’t leave it on the train.

If your train arrives at platforms (tracks) 9 – 17, you will need to ascend up to the huge bridge which spans the station, in order to access the exits.
On one side of the bridge there are escalators and stairs, while on the other there are lifts (elevators).
From this bridge there are also escalators and elevators, which lead down to the ticket gates that give access to the main concourse and its exits to the city centre.

To the city centre:

Leeds station is located in the south west corner of the city’s central area, but Leeds has no tram or metro, so heading off on foot, or taking a taxi, or a bus, are the only means of accessing destinations in the city centre.

However, Leeds city centre is comparatively compact and its main retail area, which is only a 5 – 8 min walk from the station is pedestrianised, so walking is the best means of accessing the heart of the city.

Victoria Square, the location of the Town Hall and Art Gallery, is on the opposite side of the city centre to Leeds station, but it can be reached on foot in only 10 – 15 minutes.

There are two exits from Leeds station on its city centre side, where its main concourse is located, the more obvious exit leads out to New Station Street and this is where the main TAXI RANK is located

You can turn left OR right and walk down New Station Street to access the city centre, so it’s a good idea to work out the location of your final destination in the city, before your train arrives in Leeds, so that you’ll know which direction you should take.
In summary go to the left if you are heading to Victoria Square, which is where the city’s art gallery, library, town hall and The Henry Moore Institute are located.
Turn to the right if you’re heading to The Victorian Quarter or The Corn Exchange

Train services summary:

Train Operating Company:

Destinations and routes:

LNER

(1) London King’s Cross via Peterborough
- the most frequent service between Leeds and London
(2) Aberdeen via Newcastle, Edinburgh and Dundee – 1 x train per day

CrossCountry

(1) Glasgow  via York, Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh
(2) Plymouth via Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter and Totness

Trans Pennine Express

(1) Hull
(2) Liverpool via Manchester Victoria
(3) Manchester Airport via Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly
(4) Redcar via Middlesbrough and York
(5) Edinburgh via Newcastle via York and Durham
(6) Scarborough via York

Northern

(1) Blackpool via Bradford, Halifax, Blackburn and Preston
(2) Carlisle via Skipton, Settle and Appleby
(3) Chester via Bradford, Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Rochdale and Manchester Victoria
(4) Harrogate
(5) Ilkley
(6) Lincoln via Sheffield and Retford
(7) Morecambe via Skipton, Carnforth and Lancaster
(8) Nottingham via Sheffield and Chesterfield
(9) Skipton via Keighley

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