As spectators continue to make their way home, the rail industry in Yorkshire is paying tribute to the thousands of passengers who used rail services this weekend for their patience and good humour. Dozens of longer and more frequent trains have run around the region this weekend as the Tour de France Grand Depart took place.
On Saturday passenger numbers reached 243, 000* at Leeds station, an increase of around 50% on the previous Saturday. Around 26,000 passengers are believed to have travelled through Harrogate.
Leeds station manager Helen Dawson said: “I have never seen queues like the ones we experienced this Saturday. We estimate that around 10,000 people travelled to Harrogate from Leeds. The fact that so many people were all travelling on the same route made it more of a challenge. Even during the Christmas markets and Leeds Festival, passengers come from all over so we don’t see the intense pressure that we did yesterday.
“Understandably passengers were anxious to see the race but they queued with good humour and responded well to the volunteers who were giving out water and advice in equal measure!”
On Sunday the race passed over the railway at Starbeck level crossing (see attached images) so the only rail route available from Harrogate to York was via Leeds. Direct rail services resumed from 1700 after the crossing and line were checked and cleared.
Once again, many thousands of spectators took to the rails to watch the race. Around 8,000 passengers went through Sheffield station ahead of the end of stage two with a further 8,500 recorded at Meadowhall. Huddersfield also had high passenger numbers throughout the day.
A spokesman for the rail industry in Yorkshire said: “This weekend has been the result of many, many months of hard work. As well as the planned additional services we’ve been moving trains to respond to the crowds and putting in short notice extra services to keep people on the move. We thank passengers for their patience and for entering in to the spirit of the weekend. We also want to thank the hundreds of rail staff who have given up their weekend to support and guide passengers around our network.”
As well as extra services and volunteers, additional response teams were out around the network to respond to any issues. The Network Rail helicopter was on standby and a response train was equipped and staffed to respond to any train or infrastructure faults.