Campaigners welcome announcement that number of trains between York and Harrogate will be doubled - along with more London services from Harrogate

Timetable changes planned by the two franchise holders serving Harrogate Station will see the town much better served by rail, campaigners believe.

Knaresborough Station on the route between York and Harrogate
Knaresborough Station on the route between York and Harrogate

Northern's service between York and Harrogate will be increased from one train per hour to two, with faster journey times, and LNER have also announced readjusted departure times for their direct trains between Harrogate and London King's Cross to benefit business travellers.

The improvements on both routes are in part a consquence of a long-term campaign by the Harrogate Line Supporters Group, led by former Harrogate Chamber of Trade chief executive Brain Dunsby OBE.

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Mr Dunsby has hailed the decision by LNER to run their first train of the day from Harrogate at 6.35am rather than the previous departure time of 7.34am, as the extra hour will allow passengers to be in London in time for business meetings before 10am. In the other direction, the first departure from King's Cross will be at 6.40am, which he feels will be advantageous for businesses in the town.

However, the group has expressed disappointment at the last train of the day from London being moved forward an hour to 4.30pm, which they believe could inconvenience business travellers, and have asked LNER to instead extend a 6.39pm departure to Leeds to run onwards to Harrogate.

Mr Dunsby added that the improvements on the Northern route between Leeds and York via Horsforth, Harrogate and Knaresborough could boost tourism in an area which has long suffered from a below-par service and slow speeds.

"The planned new timetable for services between Leeds, Harrogate and York shows a very welcome confirmation of the long-awaited doubling of the number of trains from Harrogate to York all day long. The current services once an hour from Harrogate to Knaresborough will be extended to York at 12 and 42 minutes past each hour, arriving in York slightly faster than the current timetable."

The first train to York will run at 6.36am and the last of the day will leave at 10.12pm. Towards Harrogate, the first departure from York will be 6.44am and the last 10.45pm.

"This is a great improvement for the many business travellers and leisure visitors to this region," added Mr Dunsby.

If approved following a period of public consultation, the timetables will come into operation in May 2022.