Extra train services will be laid on for Harrogate passengers during the UCI Road World Championships from this weekend - including additional AZUMAS!
Spectator numbers are expected to be so high, that Network Rail, Northern and London North Eastern Railway have worked together to put on 62 additional trains between York and Leeds via the Harrogate line, providing 17,000 extra seats.
Additional services will be in operation on the weekends of September 21-22, and 28-29.
The enhanced rail services running between Leeds, Harrogate and York means there will be up to four services an hour in each direction from Harrogate station at peak times.
The day’s first trains from York to Harrogate will be over an hour earlier than the usual service.
LNER are running special AZUMA services between Leeds and Harrogate during the UCI World Championships, giving spectators a preview of the new trains ahead of their introduction on the route in December.
There will be seven scheduled services each way on the Saturdays and Sundays during the event, using nine-car bi-mode rolling stock.
The first AZUMA train is due to arrive in Harrogate at 12.16 on Saturday 21st September – followed by the same trains every hour until 17.14 and a final service arriving at 18.35.
The initial trains will return to Leeds empty until 16.28 which will be the first scheduled return service into Leeds. The final service will run from Harrogate at 22.33, arriving into Leeds at 22.59.
The services repeat on Sunday 22nd September with the first arrival due at 11.23 and a final departure at 21.11. The services will be repeated on the following weekend 28-29th September.
Visitors to the district are also expected to experience the end result of Network Rail’s recent hard work in recent months to install a new transparent roof over the main concourse at Leeds.
Matt Rice, route director north and east for Network Rail, said: “We want to make sure that fans can travel between Harrogate and Leeds easily which is why we have worked with both Northern and LNER to put on additional services.
“The additional services showcase the best of the rail industry and all parties working together to put passengers first.”
Suzanne Donnelly, commercial director at LNER said: “Harrogate is a really important destination for LNER.
“We’re pleased to provide thousands of extra seats by using some of our brand new Azuma trains, allowing visitors to get a taste of what’s to come before they’re permanently introduced on the route later in the year.”
Steve Hopkinson, regional director at Northern Rail, said: “We are putting on as many trains and carriages as possible, but we still expect all our services in and around Harrogate to be really busy.
“So, I’m asking all customers to plan carefully and give plenty of time to travel to and from any of the stages.
Ironically, the one thing rail operators do not want during the UCIs is passengers with bicycles.
Northern Rail are asking customers to leave their bikes at home as they say the trains will be busy and having to take bikes would mean fewer people will be able to travel.