National Award for Wakefield’s Kirkgate Station

Groundwork Wakefield last week won a National Railway Heritage Award for the £5.6 million project that saw Kirkgate Station brought back to its former glory.

At a ceremony at The Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London on Wednesday, Lord Faulkner of Worcester presented Groundwork’s Harjinder Sandhu with The CrossRail Award for Urban Heritage.

“The award is recognition of the hard work put in by all partners of this project. It would not have been possible without the commitment of everyone involved and I’m delighted that the project has been recognised by this prestigious award,”

said Harjinder Sandhu, Corporate Services Director at Groundwork Wakefield.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

“I was delighted to open Wakefield Kirkgate Station and see the transformation that ‎it has undergone – which will unlock huge benefits for passengers, the local economy and the wider regeneration of the Kirkgate area. The station today is incomparable to the one I have used in years past. This award is fantastic news for Wakefield and is rightly deserved. Investing in schemes like this is a vital part of our plans for a Northern Powerhouse, which will help rebalance the UK’s economy.”

Andy Savage, a Trustee of the National Railway Heritage Awards, said:

“We were delighted to award the CrossRail Award for Urban Heritage to Wakefield Kirkgate station.  Five years ago the station was a derelict eyesore, and dragging down the whole area around it. Groundwork Wakefield's project has shown how it is possible to restore the heritage so as to get the best from recreating the historic features, whilst also modifying the building to be much more amenable to present-day use.  That it has done this and been the catalyst for a more general improvement of the Kirkgate area as well was particularly praiseworthy, and the project was a very worthy winner of the Urban Award.”

Cllr Peter Box CBE, leader of Wakefield Council, said:

“I am very pleased this prestigious award recognises all the hard work that has gone into making Kirkgate Station both safer for people and for improving this part of the city. The reopening of Kirkgate Station is part of the city’s regeneration programme which is bringing economic benefits not only for Wakefield but to the wider district.”

The two-year renovation of the Grade II listed Wakefield Kirkgate Station was led by environmental charity Groundwork Wakefield in partnership with Department for Transport, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Wakefield Council, The Railway Heritage Trust, Northern Rail and Grand Central Railways. The partners all financially supported the project, along with the Yorkshire and Humber 2007-2013 European Regional Development Fund Programme, The Headley Trust and Garfield Weston.

The project has also been shortlisted in the UK Rail Industry Awards (outstanding project – medium), which will be announced in February 2016.

Photo credit: Duncan Phillip and National Railway Heritage Awards